Distributed by TriStar Pictures
Opening Release Date: May 9th 2014
Reviewed by Jonathan Andre
Mom’s Night Out– Starring Sarah Drew, Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, Trace Adkins, Andrea Logan White, Abbie Cobb, Robert Amaya, Kevin Downes, Alex Kendrick
Tired? Stressed? Need a night off? Wow, these three questions make it sound like I’m advertising for either Swisse tablets, or Foxtel. But seriously, has there been a time in your life where you thought to yourself, ‘Gee, I need to have some time away from everything- to recharge, reflect, and just have a good time?’ This is exactly what the premise is for the new Erwin Brothers directed movie Mom’s Night Out, a fun film about love, family, and having a good time- things that are certainly most needed nowadays in the busy and fast-paced culture of today. Directing a vast amount of music videos before their directorial debut of October Baby, Mom’s Night Out offers us moments of hope, heart, comedy, intense action sequences, and a whole lot of fun for a family of all ages.
Historically, Christian movies don’t necessarily perform well at the box office. They’re not really well received by critics, and they are heavily criticised, either because of their Christian message, or their less than stellar production when comparing them to Hollywood blockbusters. Mom’s Night Out is no different. Sitting at an 18% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, I was initially hesitant before watching this movie- because frankly, would I, a 24 year old man, enjoy a movie which is heavily directed towards mothers with its message of family and marriage? Oddly enough, I did enjoy the movie, and while at times I was wondering to myself- ‘How could I enjoy the movie when I’m not even the target audience?’; Mom’s Night Out, and the message that comes with it, shows me that a movie can be enjoyed, regardless of who the intended target market for the film is.
For those who are planning to watch the movie, stop reading now- spoilers are coming. Ready to read on? Good? Now that we have established that- here is the storyline of the movie in a nutshell: main character Allyson (Sarah Drew from Greys Anatomy) starts to feel overwhelmed with her life- being a mother has taken its toll on her appreciation of the everyday little things. Overworked and underappreciated, she decides to have a mom’s night out- which is exactly what it sounds like. She and her friends Izzy (Andrea Logan White- wife of David A. R. White, the producer of the movie) and Sondra (Patricia Heaton, of The Middle fame) decide to spend a night in the city, leaving their husbands the duty of taking care of their children for one night.
What ensues is something out of a movie- quite literally. From car chases to cancelled restaurant bookings, missing babies, jail time, and everything else in between, the ladies have one of the most memorable nights of their lives as they each discover what it means to be mothers, and learn to own their problems rather than shifting blame. The men however have their own issues to deal with during the course of the movie- from hospital visits to speaking with the owners of a tattoo parlour, Allyson’s husband Sean (Sean Astin- you may know him as Samwise Gamgee from Lord of the Rings) and his friends realise that taking care of children isn’t necessarily as easy as it first sounds.
And with cameo performances from Manwell Reyes (lead singer of Christian hip hop band Group 1 Crew) and his wife Anjelah Johnson, as well as Alex Kendrick, founder of Sherwood Pictures (yes, the same man who has had his hand in movies like Courageous, Facing the Giants, Flywheel and Fireproof); Mom’s Night Out brings us a movie that ought to be fun for the whole family, reminding us all that regardless of whether we ourselves are mums (or dads, or even parents at all) that we all need time to ourselves once in a while, as we focus more on just enjoying and being in the moments we are given, rather than rushing with busyness from one task to the next.
So there you have it- Mom’s Night Out in three paragraphs. Spoiled? Want to watch the movie? To be honest, if you were to ask me what I reckon this movie is similar to within the Hollywood industry, I’d say Date Night, the 2010 movie starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey. But, to say that Mom’s Night Out is just a Christian version of Date Night would be just a disservice to the movie. While I must admit that Mom’s Night Out isn’t necessarily the most ground-breaking movie in terms of content, message and appeal to an audience (leave it to God’s Not Dead or Son of God to stir the media with its message), it does grant us a story that is just as relevant, as it is relatable and heartfelt.
While I myself don’t have a family currently (as in, I’m not married, nor do I have any children), I have sometimes felt a little like Allyson in the movie, overwhelmed by all the tasks I need to do on a daily basis. Kudos to Sarah Drew for her acting- making the character real and authentic, someone that an everyday man or woman can agree with and side with when it comes to their feelings of everyday life. The voiceover that occurs at various points throughout the movie acts as a down-to-earth way of showing that the character Sarah is playing isn’t based off a superhero/science fiction character- but rather a real person. Real like you or me, these characters, while only characters, have real problems, which is what I reckon will bring movie-goers to see this 100 minute movie. Movies that are real and authentic and have something to say are rare nowadays, and it is nice to have Mom’s Night Out as a movie with a message that is as applicable to the corporate lawyer as it is to the stay-at-home mum.
Acting wise, the movie employs some big names in Christian movie making and some big names in TV to rustle up a cast worthy of taking a look at, regardless of whether you enjoy the Hollywood movie scene, the Christian movie scene, or both. Actors and actresses like Sean Astin, Sarah Drew and Patricia Heaton are all seasoned veterans from their previous roles (Lord of The Rings and other movies, Grey’s Anatomy and The Middle respectively) and all show us in the movie reasons why they are quality actors and are respected in the local and global community. Alex Kendrick, who has often appeared in his own Sherwood Pictures movies (he was in 3 out of the four produced films), acts quite well in Mom’s Night Out, playing the husband of Patricia Heaton’s character and the local pastor.
And a movie is never complete, especially if David A. R. White is producing the movie, if you don’t have his wife Andrea Logan White and friend Kevin Downes involved in the movie in some capacity. Both Andrea and Kevin add to the cast quite well, and bring with them a whole group of people who have loved Christian movies (like myself) and have seen them both in various other Christian movies in the past (movies like Me Again, The Moment After, Six: The Mark Unleashed, Holyman Undercover, Marriage Retreat etc.). Reminding us all that a movie like Mom’s Night Out can easily be accessible and enjoyable to both fans of Christian and mainstream movies, it’ll be the combination of actors and their talent in the movie that’ll hopefully bring in movie-goers who appreciate Christian movies, Hollywood blockbusters, or both.
Overall, Mom’s Night Out left me with much more hope, interest and intrigue in the whole genre of Christian movies that I have had going into the movie, just like how I felt after the 2011 Sherwood Pictures film Courageous. Yet will the movie do well at the box office? Probably not. Will it be universally liked? Probably not. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, and would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a little bit of inspiration to use in daily life- and they just want to watch a film that has heart, comedy and a whole lot of fun attached to it. Don’t be put off by the comments spoken over the film by film critics- watch the trailer, check out some behind the scenes, and check it out for yourself.
So therefore, should you watch the movie, regardless of its ratings on various movie sites? Depends if you enjoy Christian movies and the particular type of genre or not. Nevertheless, Mom’s Night Out has something to say to a wide variety of people, regardless of whether you come to this movie with a preconceived idea of it or not. Overall, the movie is comparable to Date Night– in fact, I reckon the movie is just as funny, if not more so, than the Steve Carell comedy. Not sure if that is saying anything to anyone, but I hope through this film ‘review’ I can bring moviegoers to a more informed decision when it comes to Mom’s Night Out.
Did Mom’s Night Out leave a lasting impression on you? Which theme in the movie spoke to you the most? What elements of the movie reminds you of something in your everyday life that you may not have paid much attention to prior to watching? Let us know in the comments.