Moms’ Night Out…
Is It Mother Approved? – A Christian Movie Review!
In this PG-rated clean comedy, Allyson (Sarah Drew, Grey’s Anatomy, Mad Men), the full-time mom at the end of her rope, finally gets a night out with her friends after the resolute insistence of her supportive husband Sean (Sean Astin, Lord of the Rings, Rudy). She is determined at all costs to make the night out a success, but when things do not go as planned, she and the other two mothers in tow, Izzy (Andrea Logan White, Marriage Retreat, Revelation Road) and Sondra (Patricia Heaton, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Middle), find themselves in a mess they never would have imagined. Country superstar Trace Adkins guest stars as a tattooed Hell’s Angel biker dude who offers a helping hand.
Parental Guidance Issues at a Glance…
Sexual Content/Nudity: None. A husband and wife kiss.
Violence/Gore: A man is head-butted unconscious. The same character is hit by a car. A woman is tazed by a police officer. Another character gets punched in the nose. A man slams his shoulder into wall to fix his dislocated shoulder. All of it is slapstick and PG.
Alcohol/Drug/Smoking Content: A pastor’s wife, Patricia Heaton’s character, is caught holding an armful of empty beer bottles on a DJ’s “dance cam” at a bowling alley. It’s actually a comical moment. No one is drinking.
Frightening/Intense Content: There are PG-intense car chases, slapstick violence, a police officer pulling a gun on someone (and a taser), and brief images of skulls during scenes in a tattoo parlor. That’s about as intense as it gets — unless you’re a germaphobe or you’re a mother who has panic attacks (like the main character) when you see a messy house; the scene where the kids destroy the house with classic kids messiness might make your skin crawl!
(Review continues below)
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10 Things I Liked About this Movie
I went and saw this at a matinee showing in a mid-size city in California, and there was a fairly decent crowd for 10:45am on a Friday morning. One thing was very obvious though: I was the only male in the theater. This movie was aggressively marketed for a certain demographic, and their campaign succeeded. The movie succeeded in that regard as well. Every lady in that theater was laughing loudly and often, and many of them were even crying (I heard the sniffles) when the movie got serious in a couple dramatic scenes. When you’re in a movie, you can tell if the crowd likes it, and this crowd of mothers loved Moms’ Night Out, so it’s safe to say that this movie is definitely mom approved.
Despite being the only guy, I actually enjoyed this movie. It’s not necessarily on that laughing-during-the-whole-movie-until-I’m-crying-and-rolling-on-the-floor level — not many comedies that Hollywood releases are on that level, frankly; it’s very hard to be funny on purpose for two hours straight — but in Moms’ Night Out I laughed out loud more than I expected as a guy who was seeing — quite literally — a moms’ night out movie. Here are 10 reasons why I liked this movie:
1. Sean Astin rules. He was one of my favorite actors from Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, so it was fun to see him on the screen again. Even though it’s a completely different demographic and role than the LOTR universe, Sean made his role as convincing, sympathetic, and nuanced as anything else he’s done. Plus he and his friend Kevin (see, I’m even in the movie!) have a weekly video game night, in which they team up to do some serious online gaming — gamer geeks unite! It was fun to see him attempt, with a grown-up sagely calmness, explain to his wife why video games were not childish but were essential for his sanity.
2. Sarah Drew ruled the roost. As the main character Allyson, Sarah Drew had a very sympathetic, slightly whacky but loveable feel to her acting, and it reminded me very much of Isla Fisher from Confessions of a Shopaholic, which is definitely meant as a compliment (I thought Fisher was hilarious and endearing in that movie). Drew kept the movie going and captured the spirit of a stressed-out but trying her best slightly crazy mom very well.
3. They managed to cast a kid (one of the sons of Allyson and Sean) who liked exactly — and I mean EXACTLY — like the character Randy from the classic comedy A Christmas Story (the one that plays every Christmas season with the kid Ralphie who wants to buy a Red Ryder B. B. gun); Randy is the little brother of Ralphie. They seriously cast Randy’s clone for this movie.
4. Sean and Sarah had great chemistry. Some on-screen couples do not work. Sean and Sarah were fantastic, and I actually wished they had more scenes together. In fact, it would’ve been fun to see them in a married couple’s night out like the Steve Carrel/Tina Fey comedy Date Night. I am hoping Sean Astin and Sarah Drew do more films together.
5. Patricia Heaton is great as the pastor’s wife who seems to have it all together. Fans (like me) of Everybody Loves Raymond will love Patricia in this role.
6. The burly Trace Adkins — who plays that tattooed biker dude — steals the show with the biggest tear-jerking scene in the movie. Yep, the country star has some acting chops, and he was primarily the one responsible for the sniffles and tissues I heard in the crowd.
7. The supporting cast was fun to watch. Abbie Cobb (StarStruck, Good Luck Charlie, It’s Christmas) was very good as sort of an angry outcast-type character who was trying her best — in her own way — to be a good mom too. Producer and actor Kevin Downes (Courageous, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius) is funny as Kevin the irresponsible, passive gamer geek friend of Sean. He kind of reminded me of a Parks and Rec (the TV show starring Amy Poehler) character for some reason. Fans of the movie Courageous will recognize Robert Amaya and Alex Kendrick, and Sammi Hanratty (A Christmas Carol, Chosen) stole her scenes as the angsty pastor’s daughter. The producers were able to snag a superb, seasoned supporting actor in Brett Rice (Edward Scissorhands, Forrest Gump, Super 8), and any fans of Glee will spot Harry Shum, Jr.
The general movie critic populous blasted this movie. It doesn’t have the riotous, extreme gross-out-but-clever-satire of competing film Neighbors, for example, which took R-rated dirty comedy to a whole new level (though the critics loved it for its razor-sharp, well-written satire of frat houses); and some critics argue that the Mom’s Night Out script could have done certain things better.
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