Allyson is overworked. Between taking care of her three children and keeping her house in line with her self-diagnosed ‘neat-freak’ tendencies, she’s barely keeping it together. Thanks to a Groupon, Allyson has the chance to take herself and two other stressed mothers out for a night on the town. What should be a fun evening soon becomes so much more, as antics quickly become crazy coincidences transiting into full-on cartoon plot lines with everything that can go wrong, going wrong. Fortunately, as long as you know that Jesus loves you and God has a plan, everything will work out in the end.
That is Moms’ Night Out in a nutshell. Sure, it’s slightly deeper than that if you take into account Trace Adkins, the country star, channeling Sam Elliot to great effect is quite entertaining to watch. Unfortunately, even he is still cast as a character who, like every other in the movie, is nothing more than a one-dimensional archetype. By all means, Moms’ Night Out is the definition of a forgettable, bland romp designed to be as inoffensive and enjoyable by the widest margin possible. That is, until you take into account the deep quilt of Christian values and sensibilities woven throughout the movie, occasionally peeking out.
Yes, at three points in an otherwise standard film, where there would normally be a cookie-cutter speech about life being worth it and love and family being the only things you need, we get speeches about how all we need is to trust in God and everything will be okay. It’s a message I don’t subscribe to, but understand why it means so much to the people that do. It’s also a message we don’t really see in movies and TV these days. Sure, there are movies like Noah and Heaven is for Real, but those are clearly movies meant to convey religious messages. Moms’ Night Out doesn’t appear to be that based on the trailers and marketing.
Just as certain voices in the Christian community cry out at the raucous violence of something like The Raid 2 or the explicit sexual content of something like Nymphomaniac, I’m sure there are voices on the Internet that will cry out that Christian messaging is being shoved into something, even something as harmless as Moms’ Night Out. I can’t lend a voice to that misunderstood opinion. Entertainment has slowly been phasing the traditional Christian values that a movie like this would have. Moms’ Night Out having Christian themes and messaging stands out because movies like this are usually so inoffensive that they’re too scared to give any sort of specific theology.
I can appreciate a film having the courage to convey a message, even if it is one that I don’t hold in my own beliefs. That being said, I wish the Christian community could rally behind a movie better than Moms’ Night Out. Especially if you look at it as a movie trying to convey a family friendly, Christian message, Moms’ Night Out feels like a decision to convey said message and a trite and cliched story and cast of characters wrapped around it. The Christian and movie going community deserve something better.
Even though Moms’ Night Out isn’t a movie that was made for me or the demographic of Geekenstein, it doesn’t change the fact that I’ve seen so many of these plot elements and cookie cutter characters in other movies similar to this. If you want a fun, family friendly movie that supports Christian values, there are so many more movies out there, but nothing else in theaters at the moment. In the end, the only aspect of Moms’ Night Out that makes the movie anything more than forgettable were those Christian values that seemed out of place.
In Theaters: May 9, 2014
Runtime: 98 min
Rating: Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Director: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
Cast: Sarah Drew, Trace Adkins, David Hunt, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton
Studio: Tristar Pictures, Affirm Films, Provident Films
Distributor: Tristar Pictures
Official Site: http://www.momsnightoutmovie.com/