‘Moms’ Night Out’ Movie Review: Great laughs and fun while leaving the vulgar humor at home
Sony, riding the success of Heaven Is For Real, is backing a new family-friendly comedy from the directors of October Baby with some help from Pure Flix Entertainment, who was behind God’s Not Dead. The resulting Moms’ Night Out is a pleasant movie out, finding a great blend of the mayhem comedy like the Hollywood blockbusters (Hangover, Bridemaids) without the raunchy sex, nudity, drinking and profanity.
Allyson (Sarah Drew) is stressed out mother, who organizes a night out for the ladies and everything goes badly. Her husband, played by Sean Astin, organizes the men to watch the children, allowing the women to completely “unplug” and decompress.
As real world issues present themselves, things go from bad to worse.
Allyson’s nephew is missing, so the teenage mom (Abbie Cobb) is added to the mix and the search draws in a cab driver (David Hunt) and Trace Adkins, who is amazing as a biker tattoo artist.
Contrived events and poor decisions fuel the chaos, just the aforementioned films have done, but here directors Jon and Andrew Erwin keep things entertaining without the resorting to crude humor or demeaning their characters.
While the faith-based theme is obvious, Patricia Heaton plays the pastor’s wife along for the journey, there is little heavy handed theology to club audiences. One spiritual speech from Adkins’ Bones character and Allyson is revitalized from the frantic world she has created for herself.
The incompetence of the fathers never reaches the nightmarish fears of their wives. In fact, Sean Astin’s friend Kevin (Kevin Downes), who “hates kids,” but proves that he can hold is own. Some gags work here, some don’t, but the film is about the mothers – not the dads.
Mothers, well females in general, will certainly identify with many of the trials these ladies are facing and laugh along the way.
In the back of your mind though, you don’t totally empathize with Allyson and Sean because they have allowed these children to be brats and control their lives. Allyson’s friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White), married a neurotic man (Robert Amaya) with serious issues, so there is nothing shocking about his inability to handle twin toddlers. Heaton’s rebellious and mouthy teen does attempt to show church kids can be just as difficult as those the home of an atheist, but hopefully with a better outcome.
Secular critics will hate the film because it doesn’t push any new boundries. A 2014 version Adventures in Babysitting which fails to shatter a glass ceiling isn’t going to get you a good review from the NY Times or the Washington Post.
The Post wrote, by the way, “The controlling image of domestic life in this putatively pro-family polemic is that women are doing it wrong — by putting too much pressure on themselves not to do it wrong…”, assuredly patting themselves on the back for the their use of alliteration to insult to Christians, prove they are ignorantly unaware of suburban life.
Drew was very believable as the OCD raged, compulsive mom with serious entitlement issues, but most of the characters don’t get enough time to escape their stereotype. The humor drives the story, so White’s Izzyand Amaya’s neurotic Marco, are just relegated to setup and slapstick. Heaton has a few bright spots with allusions to bigger laughs (where was the Woodstock home run puchline) and I think audiences are unimpressed by taxi cab driving cliches.
By far, Moms’ Night Out is the most “rewatchable” Christian-themed comedy I’ve ever watched!
Overall Moms’ Night Out gets 3 ouf 5 stars
The target audience of churchgoes will find so much to identify with: the prudish women trying to get blackmail on the pastor’s wife (an unresolved storyline as well), jokes about being a PK and of course, a few homeschool references — add a star, this film is for you anyway.
One last footnote: To the filmmaker responsible for ruining the stungun scene in the trailer – you should be ashamed of yourself, don’t do that again.