From Rough Night to Girls Trip to the upcoming A Bad Mom’s Christmas, this is shaping up to be a big year for raunchy, all-female ensemble comedies. The latest film to join their ranks is Fun Mom Dinner, a breezy Sundance indie written by Julie Rudd (wife of Paul) and directed by Aussie newcomer Alethea Jones. Comedic heavyweights Molly Shannon, Toni Collette, Katie Aselton and Bridget Everett play the titular fun moms, who find themselves engaged in a series of mad hijinks during an evening out (including getting baked in the bathroom of a restaurant and Aselton’s character hooking up with a hot bartender, played by Adam Levine). We caught up with the cast to hear about shooting the film, learning to vape, and laughing so hard they peed their pants (repeatedly).
What was the most fun thing you did on set?
Katie: I think the bathroom-stall scene.
Toni: That was my favorite, cause we were just getting to know each other. We were supposed to be stoned but I think there’s something about the power of the mind where I did feel stoned. And when you’re getting the giggles, it’s just infectious.
K: There was no weed though, it was like fake disgusting herbal stuff that we were smoking. But there was something so funny about Molly standing up on that chair, you on the toilet, me perched on this weird thing. We laughed so hard that certain people peed their pants.
Bridget: You know, it’s not a big deal. And if you’re the one who hasn’t had children and has no excuse for incontinence … [Laughs.]. It wasn’t just a little bit. You start laughing and you just can’t stop yourself.
That’s the mark of a good script, when the actors are literally peeing their pants.
K: And you also know you’re going to be great friends if you’re all together making each other pee.
Who’s the weed expert on set?
B: You’d have to talk to the writers and producers about that.
T: They had to show me how to use the vape, even though my character’s meant to be a pothead. I’m not familiar with vapes.
Vaping is a useful skill though.
T: I agree.
K: We’re always learning and growing.
Who’s the craziest one of the group?
T: It just depends how much tequila has been consumed.
B: We had a little party over at Katie’s house during shooting. At one point Katie’s husband [Mark Duplass] comes down being like, Alright guys, you gotta go to bed.
K: Someone managed to shatter a glass on a couch.
B: I’ve never forgiven myself for that.
How much of the characters were drawn from personal experience?
T: All of this comes from a heartfelt place. Ultimately it’s about people connecting, and all the women are very different. Julie Rudd, our writer, modeled a couple of aspects of the characters on women she met at school. I think it’s a disservice to a film on the whole if not all of the characters feel real and complete, and I think this movie has achieved that. The guys as well, they’re so recognizable and familiar.
Molly: And really, the women, they’re all parts of herself.
Why do you think we’re seeing such a relative boom in female ensemble comedies, particularly in the past year?
T: I think people have been making a lot of noise about it, because for so long there was a massive imbalance in the industry which is slowly changing.
K: It really is a frustrating thing when you hear the argument, “They just don’t make money,” and you’re like, really, did Bridesmaids not make money? Or Trainwreck? It is an interesting thing to try and break the mindset of “but women can’t be raunchy.” Women can be everything. I think the tide is changing in that way, and I think people are embracing it.
Have there noticeably been more opportunities in recent years?
K: I feel like there’s been more female filmmakers and I’ve felt that effort to put more women behind the camera, more so than going out for roles. I can’t tell you how many times I say on the phone, “I’m not going to be the wife, please don’t ask me to just be this tertiary character, that’s such a bummer.” You look at really standard sitcom stuff and they’re like, “No no no she’s more than that!” and then you see it and it’s like, no she’s not.
M: What do they call it, “love a schlub”? Where it’s always a schlubby guy with a beautiful girl.
K: It’s always Kevin James and someone 30 years younger.
Katie, Molly, and Toni, you’re all moms; what are the ways you treat yourselves when you need a break from parenting?
T: I just liked to be touched. [Laughs.] I mean, by a masseuse.
B: I’m not a mother in the traditional sense, but I do have an 8-year-old Pomeranian, a former sex worker.
Oh no! Poor thing.
K: She’s got a good life, I don’t feel bad for her.
B: Yeah, she’s living the life now and I like to really take good care of her. But when you have a dog, especially one with anxiety, you can’t really be gone. So what I like to do is put her in a little beach chair in the shade, and I like to make these things called “pini tinis,” you get a bottle of Tito’s, a fresh pineapple, you slice it and dice it into tiny little things, shake it up and chill it, and at five o’clock you pour yourself a glass of ice and your pini tini and you get on a pool floaty and you just enjoy yourself.
T: Can we do this!?
M: Bridget, that sounds so good. Is Tito’s potato vodka?
B: It’s gluten-free.
K: And American made!
Katie, what was it like to make out with Adam Levine?
K: He was so sweet and so nice. I will say in my mind when we were shooting it, I felt like I was kissing him for ten hours. Every take I was like, I should pull away, I’m going to make him uncomfortable. And it turned out in the edit they were having a really hard time because we didn’t have a take long enough, and all the notes they were getting were like, “I feel like she’s really putting herself through the ringer for not having kissed him for that long.” But in my brain it felt like it was soooo long.
M: Yeah, the women in the testing groups all wanted longer kisses. They wanted Katie’s character to enjoy it and just go for it in the moment.
K: But I will tell you, as someone who was kissing Adam Levine, it just … was a lot. I was very aware of the fact that he’s not an actor and I didn’t want to make him uncomfortable. And he was very concerned, like, Where do you want me to put my hand, do you want me to use my tongue? My big concern was making sure he was comfortable. That was all I could think about. He was lovely though. But he had his own insecurities and his own things.
T: You have to use the tongue though, you have to, or else it’s just weird.
K: We didn’t though.
M: I’ve never done that.
T: You’ve never had to snog onscreen?
M: I’ve kissed but I’ve never used the tongue.
T: Oh, you have to. Who kisses in life without a tongue? Do you kiss in life with a tongue?
M: Yeah, but I’ve never done that onscreen. I haven’t!
There’s a lot of female-centric movies this year that have kind of similar adjective-noun titles — Girls Trip, Fun Mom Dinner, Bad Moms. I thought it could be fun to get your ideas for other names of movies like that.
B: Wow, you’re coming in with the hard-hitting Walter Cronkite stuff.
M: Maybe like, Rich Mom Poor Mom Good Mom Bad Mom.
B: Or like, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Mom.