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Movie Review

Moms' Night Out also known as “Mom's Night Out,” “Moms Night Out”

MPAA Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and some action.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Hanley
CONTRIBUTOR

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults Family
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
May 9, 2014 (wide—1,000+ theaters)
DVD: September 2, 2014
Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Affirm Films, Provident Films, TriStar Pictures

motherhood

fatherhood

Family Answers HOME page

Featuring: Patricia Heaton … Actress
Sean Astin … Actor
Sarah Drew … Allyson
Sammi Hanratty … Zoe
Harry Shum Jr. … Joey
Abbie Cobb … Bridgette
Anjelah Johnson-Reyes … Hostess
Alex Kendrick … Pastor Ray
Logan White … Izzy
Trace Adkins … Bones
more »
Director: Andrew Erwin—“October Baby
Producer: Kevin Downes Production
Erwin Brothers Films
Four Boys Films
Pure Flix Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Affirm Films
Provident Films
TriStar Pictures

What could go wrong? Allyson, a Christian stay-at-home mom of three is feeling burnt out. She is having a hard time keeping up with her children, her house is a mess, she feels like a failure and is just generally miserable. So, she plans a much deserved, mom’s night out. Her husband, Sean, encourages her to “unplug” and volunteers to watch the kids for the evening. He is joined by his friend, Kevin and another father, Marco. She invites two friends, Izzy, her best friend, and Sondra the much admired pastor’s wife, to go out for a nice dinner. So what could go wrong?

How about almost everything!?! Plans go awry and things get messy. A baby goes missing, there are visits to a tattoo parlor, a trip to the hospital and a car chase that ends up with everyone at the local jail by the end of the night.

The evening did not go as planned but, “…we know that all things work together for our good” (Romans 8:28). Through these chaotic events and words of wisdom from an unexpected source, the moms learn many lessons, the most important one being that there its no such thing as a perfect mom. All moms, are human beings, with God-given gifts and talents. Yet, all moms have their short comings (even if it doesn’t seem like it from the outside). Mom’s are not called to be perfect but to be themselves and dedicate their lives to pleasing God, not trying to meet all the unrealistic expectations put upon them by the world, media and often themselves.

I personally had mixed feelings about the movie. It was refreshing to watch a comedic movie that did not use the crudeness that most comedies use today to get a laugh. I, also appreciated, the support and the celebration of the high calling of mothers without making the dads look foolish. The privilege of having and raising children is portrayed as a blessing in the movie, even though it is realistic is showing that parenting is difficult at times. (“Children are a heritage of the Lord and the fruit of the womb is his reward” —Psalm 127:3.) I did find, however, the fast paced string of events, that went from bad to worse, to be over-the-top and not always funny.

Since the movie is a Christian faith production, morally it is quite good, especially for a movie in the comedic genre. The only “sexual” content is a kiss between a husband and wife. An exclamation of “Oh crud!” and a woman being referred to as a tramp is the only objectionable language. There is a scene with empty beer bottles.

There is also some “slapsticky” violence. A man is punched in the face, a man is maced, and a woman is accidentally tasered. A policeman draws his gun and makes a man lie on the ground. There are a couple scenes in the movie that take place in a tattoo parlor, and there is a car chase.

“Mom’s Night Out” is a good family, faith-based comedy. At the end, Allyson blogs about her new found knowledge. She says she might be a mess but she is a ”beautiful mess.” She is God’s masterpiece. I felt that the movie in a way is a “beautiful mess” but maybe not quite a masterpiece.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive
Positive—I just watched this movie as part of a preview showing offered by my local Christian radio station. I was a little skeptical, wondering if it would be a “Men can’t even watch their own kids for two hours” father-bashing movie. It was NOT!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and have not laughed so much in a long time. I identified with the mom played by Sarah Drew, feeling like you’re “not enough” to handle the daily tasks of being a wife and mom, as well as the chaos that comes with everyday life situations. I can't/don’t want to describe the movie in detail for fear of ruining the experience. However, let’s just say that the movie accurately, honestly, and Biblically portrayed the cross culture of life.

There are some dads who feel out of sorts watching their own kids; there are dads that are awesome fathers (I am blessed to be married to one who encouraged me to go watch this movie). This movie honors both and especially all the moms out their as well. I HIGHLY recommend this movie to moms (and dads) everywhere. It is targeted to adults, has little that would be offensive, but may not be appropriate for young kids (under 10) due the action scenes and several stunts.

I was blessed by how so many different characters were honored as people that God loves, and not shown in a judgmental or demeaning way. I appreciated the way the pastor’s wife (Patricia Heaton) was accurately depicted as a woman who everyone assumes has it all together, but reveals that she has struggles (and a past) too.

The movie’s overall messages: *God has a plan, He doesn’t make mistakes *Moms and dads are very important *Communication is KEY!!! *Enjoy the moments, good and bad—look for the good. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. Support this movie. It says for moms, what “Courageous” says for dads. Good Work Erwin Bros.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Rebecca, age 40 (USA)
Positive—I took my wife out for her night out to celebrate mothers day. We both enjoyed the movie and laughed so much. It is refreshing to see a movie like this in a time when it seems that all there is junk at the movie theater. It is a must see.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Ken, age 58 (USA)
Positive—What a wonderful and CLEAN movie!! My husband took me to see this movie as a special mother’s day treat. I was very pleased and found the movie hilariously funny. My husband loved it too, and we both were laughing constantly. I did not hear a single offensive word, which is rare in movies today. We are very selective on what entertainment we will allow in our lives, as more conservative Christians, and this movie is one of the few we can recommend to our family and friends.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—K Hall, age 37 (USA)
Positive—My husband and I went to see this movie with our son and daughter in law. We all walked out with smiles on our faces repeating some of the hilarious lines. Great fun! Loved every minute of it. Well done! I’ll be buying this as soon as it comes out.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality:
—Sarah, age 48 (USA)
Positive—This is a great movie! Very clean and funny.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Mrs. B, age 36 (USA)
Positive—What a great movie. Laugh out loud funny. Clean. Wonderful characters created and portrayed by talented actors. Not only the leads but also the supporting cast. I especially liked that it does NOT portray dads and men as morons. Refreshing!

Some very pleasant surprises and poignant moments. All of the actors were able to do much to create memorable characters in a short amount of time, particularly a biker named Bones, but every character was just top notch and lots of fun! Enjoyable. Highly recommend it.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Tori, age 40+ (USA)
Positive—Released just in time for Mother's Day: A breath of fresh air from Hollywood. “Mom's Night Out” is fun, reassuring, affirming and absolutely hilarious, reminiscent of Mr. Mom and Cheaper by the Dozen, well worth the time. Now, if you have a house full of kids, if your wife is overwhelmed, if she feels overworked and under-appreciated, then I would say, this film is a must see! It received low ratings from the critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with a dismal 14% positive reviews, but as we all know, rarely do the critics accurately reflect the general audience of which 85% is positive. Not bad for a Christian-based film in a secular venue.

Now, on to some of my more critical considerations. Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin now have my full attention and I will definitely be keeping my eye on them. Their prior project was the powerful depiction of an estranged daughter in a failed abortion attempt in “October Baby,” starring John Schneider and Rachel Hendrix. Both of these films were a delightful surprise, and I think very well done. They are a major contribution to Christian-based film making. Not to diminish the messages contained in “Fireproof” and “Courageous,” in my opinion they fail to execute the coming of faith in a realistic way. more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—JP, age 44 (USA)
Positive—The response to Chrystal. I am a firm believer but just because I’m a firm believer doesn’t mean I can’t have a good laugh. But you wonder why men can’t have children. We women are strong and are capable to hold our family together. Men support the family, but men are different than women, way different!! I personally loved the movie. There’s no vulgar language that you hear on everyday TV!

It takes a very bold person not to follow the footsteps of the everyday movies, so I say “BRAVO”. And when a movie comes out like that we shouldn’t put it down or pull the negatives out of it, because there’s way worst !!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Amber, age 24 (USA)
Moms” Night Out (2014)
Positive—Wonderful movie. Family-friendly with Christian values at the core. I loved the way the movie showed how people from different walks of life can all love God!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Stephens, age 34 (USA)
Positive—It was so refreshing to watch a comedic film that actually made me laugh out loud sometimes; that was not filled with cursing or sexual content. There were Christian values displayed within the movie a little as well. Overall, this movie made me thankful there are still movies of good quality that are kept clean and not filled with the junk of this world. I was presently surprised to see Christians represented in a positive light and not made of a mockery of as well. Great movie!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jordan, age 25 (USA)
Positive—This film was a wonderful movie about what could go wrong went wrong. Most parents fear the worse, and this movie portrays those feelings in both mothers and fathers. I especially like that they chose to do scenes in a tattoo parlor, which included one particular church person, because it shows that God loves ALL people even if they are not considered church-going or a believer.

I didn’t particularly like the “past” of another certain person, but it does show that no one is perfect, and that your past doesn’t have to define who you are today, especially after you learn to trust God. My favorite idea on screen was that the “moral of the story” came from an unexpected source that I was so happy to see up on screen, because it is so true that God uses different types of people for His purpose. Thank you for that! more »
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—ALQ, age 42 (USA)
Positive—This is a great movie! I have watched it three times and am watching it now. Hopefully more movies like this will be produced. It’s a fun movie! I like that it incorporates Christian values in it. OK, Patricia Heaton, we need more movies like this!
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—M. Hagler, age 62 (USA)
Positive—Enjoyed the movie
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Lori, age 53 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—I expected more of a “teaching moment” from this movie. Instead, I feel the movie leaves a feeling of, “I’m ok, you’re ok” kind of attitude. Recently I read an article where the writer brought up a good point that being a “mess” is the new thing to celebrate. I think that is a worldly concept that far to many Christians are falling into.

I do NOT think Christians are or can be perfect, but our goal is to glorify God in all we do. When we fail in anything, we pray and ask for grace and forgiveness from Christ. His redemption has already set us apart for salvation, and the sanctification of our lives is an ongoing process in each of the believers life.

I am happy they tried to communicate strongly how important a mom is, but at the end of the movie I found myself saying, “That’s it?” I agree with other commenters who felt the message of Christianity lacking and disappointing. I will say that I think each of the actors/actresses did a good job playing their role.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Meg, age 37 (USA)
Negative
Negative—Wood, hay and stubble… This is a great movie for the carnal christian. The little bit of God they tried to put in the movie is overshadowed by just plain non-sense. If you are expecting something like “Courageous” or “Fireproof,” you will be greatly disappointed! Not Spirit led or directed.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—John, age 42 (USA)
Movie Critics

Painted in broad comic strokes and with no emotional depth, a valentine to motherhood that’s sweet but not sugarcoated, and which doesn’t hard-sell its Christian message. …
—Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter

Somewhere between a Lifetime movie and a Nickelodeon sitcom exists “Moms' Nights Out,” a raunch-free romp made to be suffered through by the whole family. What this PG comedy lacks in cursing, it also comes up short on plot, character development, originality, and overall pleasure. … [C-]
—Marc Snetiker, Entertainment Weekly

…dismally unfunny …A shrill feature-length sitcom for the faith-based family values crowd, if nowhere near as good as that sounds. …
—Justin Chang, Variety

…strained, clunkily orchestrated and dismally retrograde film… “Moms’ Night Out” trafficks in the most patronizing images of women, either as addled, neurotic control freaks or haplessly dizzy dames. …
—Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post

…a one-dimensional bore… a hectic mess that does just the opposite of what it clearly set out to do: It makes motherhood seem like one of the most ill-conceived ideas since New Coke. …
—Gary Goldstein, Los Angeles Times

…A pratfall-filled night of calamity that’s a refreshingly clean take on the cinematic chestnut [of the “night-out gone bad”]. …
—Bob Hoose, Plugged In

Laughs and truth awkwardly co-mingle …Directors Jon and Andrew Erwin give faith-based humor with social and spiritual relevance their best shot and get two out of three right. …
—Christa Banister, CrossWalk

…fairly entertaining and has an uplifting message of motherhood, infused with a Christian worldview, with some questionable elements requiring caution. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide

…falls flat …wholly unrealistic portrayal of modern mothers, fathers and even kids… [1½/4]
—Linda Barnard, The Toronto Star

Comments from non-viewers
Negative—As a father and full-time Christian worker, I view things through a very defined prism, I guess you could say. Originally, my background was in media and radio comedy. I have a definite “funny bone,” and as a husband and dad (kids are 11 and 8), I allow for the differences in what makes men laugh, what makes women laugh, and how sometimes the two fail to connect.

That said, I saw this movie (“Mom’s Night Out”) on the back of a seat during a transatlantic flight this year. I am a huge fan of the Kendricks’ work… and though I believe their ties to this movie are loose at best, I was greatly disappointed in the over-the-top “Trojan horse” approach of attracting a broader audience to a Christian movie (lure the viewer into a Christian movie without them knowing it’s a Christian movie).

I watched 45 minutes of the movie, feeling embarrassed… seeing actors and actresses who had moved me to tears in other roles, waddling in dysfunctional foolishness, trying to convince the viewer that Christians are “normal” (“see? I’m just like you!”) and seeming awkward instead. Don’t worry—I get it—it was part farce… a let-your-hair-down whoop that backfired, aiming to get the viewer to rethink what fun, freedom and family really is.

But the big problem with contemporary Christianity today is it has become so playfully rooted in a secular-tech world… apologizing for the doctrine of separation (for fear of being mislabeled “legalist”)… that today, it can only regurgitate back on us what it truly resembles: the spiritually starved society it forgot to truly witness to. Christ is DIFFERENT. He is the WORD. It’s okay to entertain them without forgetting to tell them.
—Bill, age 54 (USA)
Negative—While I admire the purpose behind this movie (done by a homeschooler to honor the hard work and sacrifice his mom did for him), I can't in good conscience pay to see this movie. It’s just another film that portrays mothers as the perfect goddesses of the world and men as idiots who can’t even change a diaper without setting the house on fire.

Christians are to honor one other and support one another. If the roles were reversed (a woman tried to cover a man’s job for a day and everything went horribly wrong), there would be outrage. Why is it ok to bash men but not women?
—Chrystal, age 37 (USA)
Positive—In response to Chrystal, I do not believe that this movie dishonored men. All adults in this movie had many challenges and made plenty of mistakes. It was just lighthearted fun. I do agree that it is wrong to dishonor men, but this movie does not do that, in my opinion. This is a really well-made Christian movie. There are lots of laughs with some serious points, as well.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Good / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Debbie, age 61 (USA)

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