Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Movie Review: Moms' Night Out

Moms' Night Out (Opens May 9 in US and Canada)
Cast: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins
Directed by: The Erwin Brothers
Review by: Heidi Gustafson

Synopsis: All Allyson and her friends want is one night of peaceful adult conversation and dinner out in the real world.  But in order to be able to dress up and wear their high heels again, they need their husbands to watch the kids for a couple hours.  No problem, right?

Feeling overwhelmed by her self-imposed expectations concerning child rearing, Allyson (played by Sarah Drew of “Gray’s Anatomy”) initiates a night out for herself and two of her friends that will allow them to dress up and wear high heels so they can participate in the world of grown-ups again. Their trepidatious husbands agree to watch the kids. Sean Astin plays the role of Sean, Allyson’s husband. Chaos ensues involving erroneous dinner reservations, a missing van, a lost baby and one injured husband, with unscheduled stops at a bowling alley, a tattoo parlor, an emergency room and the local precinct.

“Mom’s Night Out” is a laugh-out-loud movie that relies on situational and physical comedy rather than sophomoric insult humor. This movie will make you laugh and, at times, may allow you to see your own life from the perspective of an audience member. Comments heard after the Fargo, ND, preview indicated that a vast proportion of the audience were able to draw parallels between their life and the movie’s plot lines.

Woven throughout the movie is a faith message centered in evangelical Christianity. I have been told by people who are not based in this type of faith, that they still enjoyed the movie and found it to be not only very watchable but also extremely funny. Even though it is a faith-based movie, it has no pretensions of being a revivalist tool.  

One fear that I had was that since the movie is a celebration of motherhood, the filmmakers would use the device of dumbing down the husbands and turning them into complete oafs in order to fulfill the premise.  This did not happen, much to my joy. Fatherhood in the movie is acknowledged with love and laughter.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid fan of Sean Astin. Because I genuinely wanted to write an honest review of the movie, my friend Jackie attended the preview with me in order to provide more unbiased input. After the movie, I quizzed Jackie as to her reactions; she was excited about the movie and said she very much enjoyed it. I can attest that she laughed just as hard as I did.  I was one of the last persons out of the theater so that I could eavesdrop on the comments of the other patrons. Their reaction was 100% favorable. I did not hear one negative or disparaging remark about any aspect of the movie. The audience consisted of (approximately) 75 women and 2 men (not including the security men), many of whom were bloggers and/or people who identify as Christians.

There is a couple interesting trivia items to note concerning the movie. One item is that Shiloh Nelson, the actress that plays Sean’s daughter in “Moms’ Night Out”, is the same actress that played his daughter in the 2012 television movie “Adopting Terror”. And Kevin Downes, who directed Sean in “Amazing Love” (2012) costars with Sean as Kevin in “Moms’ Night Out”.

“Moms’ Night Out” is rated PG and scheduled for a nation-wide release May 9, 2014. (Theater listings here.) I certainly plan on going to see it again (and again). Hope to see you there!

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