Recently, I had the opportunity to attend an early screening of the new film, Moms’ Night Out. You may recognize some of the faces in the film, like Sarah Drew from Grey’s Anatomy and Patricia Heaton from The Middle. I’ll admit that putting Trace Adkins and Sean Astin in the film with these ladies was what intrigued me. Then I watched the trailer and I was hooked.
Still, as I prepared to go out to the movie, I had some reservations. Christian films haven’t always been able to compete with secular films in the marketplace. Usually, from a story perspective, I’ve found that it’s because it’s so hard to reach a Christian audience. If the gospel isn’t in it and clear, it can’t really be called a Christian film can it? As someone who has done publicity and marketing for everything from big releases like Left Behind and small indies, I can tell you: Christians are really particular about what they enjoy. This has also made me somewhat picky about what I enjoy. And so it was that I went into the film with admittedly low expectations.
Moms’ Night Out blew the doors off of those expectations. I mean I could say exceeded but that doesn’t really convey how well this movie managed to explode everything I’d imagined before I walked in the door.
Allyson (Sarah Drew, Grey’s Anatomy) is tired. Really tired. After spending days cooking, cleaning and rearing her small children, she is desperately in need of a night out with the girls. So when she gets a coupon to try a fancy new restaurant, everything looks fantastic for a night out with her girlfriends. She arranges to have her husband (played by Sean Astin) watch the kids and she is READY.
That’s the only thing that goes smoothly. From pretty much the second the night starts, it’s mass pandemonium and chaos across the board. And it is BRILLIANT.
Like an “Adventures in Babysitting” adventure for grownups, Moms’ Night Out takes parenthood, life, and reality and splashes it on to the big screen in a great new way. As I was watching the movie, there were parts that made me wonder if they had a camera hidden in my house somewhere. It was so relatable that it was like my life was on that screen. I got it! But better yet, THEY GOT IT!
The makers of this film found a way to share the life of a mom without being disrespectful (I Hate My Teenage Daughter anyone?) or demeaning to families. And guess what? There’s a husband and he’s not cheating! In fact – there are several in this film. By the end you want to applaud and thank all of them for being examples of how to love your wife and family.
The kids in this movie were also real. Too often, you find kids on film to be over the top bratty and completely unlikeable or they are picture perfect and unbelievable. From the teenagers to the toddlers, the producers nailed the reality of parenting.
One of my favorite characters was a massive hulk of a tattoo artist named Bones. Played by Trace Adkins (also a favorite of mine) Bones is a fascinating dichotomy on the screen.
He looks like he could easily kill you with a flick of his wrist, but it doesn’t take long for this man to completely capture your heart. By the time we hit a key point in the movie, it wasn’t a surprise to realize that more than half of the movie theater was in tears at one of his scenes. It was that good.
Moms’ Night Out isn’t a great Christian movie. It’s a great movie. Period. When the name Christian is tossed into the descriptor, it elevates the film straight to brilliant status.
I also want to mention here that my husband went to the film with me. He was recently medically retired from the USAF and has struggled with being a stay at home dad. He works on homeschooling them and he helps keep the house together while I run my PR/Marketing Company from home. After we watched the film, he turned to me in the car and said, “I know it was a movie for moms, but it really spoke to me too. They really showed everything it means to be a parent.”
Suffice it to say that I’ve already made plans with a bunch of my girlfriends for a night out to watch this one in theaters and I can’t stop talking about how fabulous it was.
Kudos to the producers of this film. You have secured in me (and my house) a new set of fans who will follow you happily to any of your future productions. And thank you for showing my life, with all the bumps, bruises, laughter and love, on the big screen.