A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Moms' Night Out is a faith-based comedy about three stay-at-home moms who get away for a night on the town, only to have their plans dashed by unforeseen obstacles. Although there's virtually no language (aside from a couple of insults like "tramp") or sex (just a couple of brief marital kisses), the movie isn't really meant for younger viewers, who won't get the marital/domestic humor or the more mature themes about identity crises and maternal breakdowns. There's also some drinking (and a couple of characters who appear drunk or stoned) and punching/pushing/shoving. Although the trailers don't necessarily make it clear, Moms' Night Out contains overtly evangelical Christian messages and themes.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Allyson (Sarah Drew) is a suburban stay-at-home, homeschooling mom to three young children who's at the end of her proverbial rope, in large part because her husband, Sean (Sean Astin), is often away on business -- even on Mother's Day. All she'd really like to do is start her own mommy blog, but with all the chaos of her daily life, she can't find any time for herself. So when her husband finally comes home at the end of a stressful Mother's Day, Allyson decides that the next Saturday night, she'll invite her best friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White), and her mentor, pastor's wife Sondra (Patricia Heaton) on a MOMS' NIGHT OUT. But of course, things don't go as planned as a mixed-up reservation, overwhelmed husbands, and a missing baby lead to a night of wacky misadventures.
Is it any good?
In many ways, Mom's Night Out is the opposite of I Don't Know How She Does It and other frantic working-mom comedies. Instead of focusing on the harried life of moms who have to balance working outside the home and raising their children, Moms' Night Out follows the just-as-stressful (but, as the filmmakers see it, even more rewarding) life of a stay-at-home mom. The premise has potential, and the trailers feature some of the movie's funnier bits, but once the action starts, viewers will quickly realize that this is very much a Christian film (a fact that may turn off viewers who don't share the filmmakers' faith), like Courageous or Fireproof. (The director of Courageous, Alex Kendrick, even has a supporting role here as Allyson's pastor/Sondra's husband.)
For families who wish there were more faith-based films on the market, this is a fine pick. The movie's central message is that while an at-home mother may struggle to find her way, ultimately she's doing God's work by being home with her children. Unfortunately, the flip side of that message is that fathers are secondary parents who can't figure out how to "babysit" their own children for one night without landing in the emergency room. Also unfortunately, the movie just isn't very funny. Drew, who's known as the perky Dr. Kepner on Grey's Anatomy, plays Allyson as too shrill and controlling to be empathetic, and pretty much the only likable character is tattoo parlor owner Bones, played by country singer Trace Adkins. Moms deserve a funnier night out a the movies!
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who you think Moms' Night Out is intended to appeal to. Is it just for moms/adults? Do you think only families/viewers who embrace the movie's faith-based messages will appreciate it? Why or why not?
How would you describe the movie's point of view about gender roles and family responsibilities? Do you think most fathers are as bumbling and clueless as the ones depicted here? Are most mothers as controlling and stressed out?
Discuss the popularity of movies that take mostly in one day/night. How does this comedy compare to other movies about a night full of misadventures?
- In theaters: May 9, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: September 2, 2014
- Cast: Patricia Heaton, Sean Astin, Sarah Drew
- Directors: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
- Studio: Sony Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 98 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild thematic elements and some action
- Last updated: May 25, 2020
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