“Mom’s Night Out”; A Family Film That’s Fun and Enjoyable

Blogger Mom, Allyson (Sarah Drew) is frazzled and about to blow. She desperately needs a night out. She assumes her best friend Izzy (Andrea Logan White), the mother of twins and wife of a child-challenged husband, Marco (Robert Amaya), needs a night out, too. Especially at an eating establishment where the food doesn’t come in a bag or on a paper plate. Someplace quiet and respectable where the music doesn’t blast and where adult women can actually have a grown-up conversation about grown-up things. A place where they can dress up and Allyson can even wear her showy high-heels that haven’t seen the light of day in two years.

The closest the women get to a social life is the First Baptist Church where they meet every Sunday. Knowing that the pastor’s wife, the Oh-So-Correct Sondra (Patricia Heaton), is taxed to the max by her rebellious teenage daughter Zoe (Sammi Hanratty), the two moms invite Mrs. First Baptist Church for their Saturday night out, too, and she accepts.

Allyson, the Blogger Mom and Control Freak, is always envisioning how any plan is likely to play out. She foresees only disaster with her husband, Sean (Sean Astin), babysitting their three tykes, especially when she learns he has invited his best friend and violent video game buddy, Kevin (Kevin Downes), over for the evening. Kevin is the unmarried loose cannon who has never grown up and hates kids. But with her husband’s insistence that he can handle things, Allyson soldiers on.

But Murphy’s Law is still on the books — if anything can go wrong it will. Some people say Murphy was an optimist. In this movie, he was. Allyson is out of runway practice in high heels. An ankle turns. Their reservation at a fancy restaurant cannot be found. It was made for the following week. There is meltdown. The husbands keep calling so the girls ditch their cell phones.

Meanwhile, back at the kid corral, Izzy’s hesitant husband cannot cope with the twins alone — or their pet bird — and brings them all to Sean’s house. To the surprise of both the fathers, the one who seems to know the most about the correct handling of kids is the childless kid hater, Kevin. Probably because he has absorbed it all without the block of parental apprehension. They decide to take the children to a kid palace, catering to every child’s whim.

But Murphy’s Law still holds sway, even in kid heaven — which turns out to be just the opposite for the adult men. They decide to pick up Allyson’s minivan to transport all the kids, and leave one of the cars behind for the wives. But, since the guys can’t get them on the phone, the girls believe the van to be stolen, and report it to the police.

The female friends then call a cab driven by a voluble British cabbie (David Hunt – who, by the way, happens to be the real-life husband of Patricia Heaton, who is playing the pastor’s wife). He sticks around just to see how the show plays out.

Meanwhile, the three women run into Sean’s sister, Bridget, who has trustingly left her son with her ex-boyfriend, Joey (Harry Shum, Jr.), who, unbeknownst to Bridget, has left the child at a tattoo parlor with his biker gang bud, Bones (Trace Adkins). When the girls run into Joey, without the little one, the hysterics and the chase is on to rescue the innocent child from all kinds of dens of iniquity.

But when they do find Bones in an unsavory back alley, he has given the child over to one of Joey’s ex’s, whom Bridget knows all too well. As he leans out of the tattoo parlor back door, Bones squints at Sondra. “I know you from somewhere,” he slurs. It is only later that we learn the uptight preacher’s wife is hiding a checkered past. However, feeling guilty, Bones sets out to help the girls find Joey’s ex, only to learn that when last seen, she was going bar-hopping with the toddler in tow. From there, their evening out deteriorates into chaos, but a fun evening for the movie viewers.

MY VIEW — When Mike and I rented this movie on Amazon, we knew nothing about its background, except I had wanted to see it at the movies after watching the trailer. Though not preachy, we eventually realized this was a Christian-based comedy production. Mike and I thoroughly enjoyed “Mom’s Night Out”, never realizing until the end that it was filmed in Birmingham, AL, which is our neck of the Alabama wooded area.

Of course, it was slammed by critics. I read one review where the writer felt the movie was dangerously archaic, regressing back to olden days when women were the caretakers of home and hearth.  Too much M-O-M in mom. Too much W-I-F-E in wife. Too much F-A-M-I-L-Y in family. And too much H-O-M-E in home. Not enough, (make that no) four-letter, or any “letter” words, or wine, for the sophisticated taste and the jaded world-view discernment. The reviewer even felt that the moral of the story was that wives and mothers should not go out or everything at home will fall apart.

The real moral of the story was to not be so hard on yourself that you stay wrapped up tight as a drum. That’s how good people go off like a Roman candle sometimes. They try to be “all things to all people”, and never have a hair out of place. That’s impossible from a human standpoint and smacks at playing God. That’s HIS job.

Also, some Christian women do have careers. Most of the actors in this movie are Christians with careers on Broadway, or are producers and film makers. Patricia Heaton won an Emmy for her role in the hit TV series “Everybody Loves Raymond”. Christian women do not wear veils over their faces and entomb themselves within the home.

Moms often make a career of motherhood and home, just as Allyson did in the movie. It was her dream vocation, one that she chose. Such moms try to create an environment that caters to the spiritual, mental, social, and physical well-being of those living in it.

Though Christian families also have their problems, and, in spite of faith, sometimes fall apart in this imperfect world, the effort is there for good, not evil. That’s where stable, productive adults of the next generation come from.

I know home and hearth are out of favor among the politically correct, but, hey. Some of us archaic moms and wives are still around. And, yes, we like to have fun and let down our hair every once in a while, in a wholesome way. People don’t have to get drunk and sleep around, like most movies depict the high life.

Yes, of course I watch mainstream movies, and understand and appreciate the mature nature of those that have meaning, or just enjoy a comedy, or be entertained. But I can also appreciate a film that doesn’t make me wince, or that I can share with anybody, especially one that can make me laugh through shared and familiar feelings. A family movie.

I give “Moms Night Out” a thumbs way up. It was fun. It was funny. And it said something. You can’t beat that with a stick.

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