Actors: Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton
Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Widescreen
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Number of discs: 1
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Run Time: 99 minutes
The mere fact that there is no moral or spiritual lesson engrained into the plot of Moms’ Night Out means a step forward for the faith-based film industry. In the same year that major studios also found source material for their movies in biblical stories, Christian-made films have also started to understand the concept of entertainment. This one is still far from being anywhere near good, and despite a storyline involving mothers, much of the humor appears meant to amuse the children dragged to theaters this past Mother’s Day. There is enough mature material to appease the adults, and the entire subject of the film may go over most children’s heads. In trying to appease everyone, they have made a movie for no one.
In a very unfunny sitcom plot which assigns predictable gender roles out to the cast made mostly of television actors. Allyson (Sarah Drew, from “Everwood”) is an overwhelmed young mother desperately in need of a night off from the world’s most important job. She looks to allies within her bible study, including her best friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White), and the pastor’s wife, Sondra (Patricia Heaton, from “Everybody Loves Raymond”). Their evening quickly goes poorly due to a scheduling miscommunication, but all of the trouble truly escalates due to the fathers’ inability to function as the sole guardian of the children for even one evening. It is typical buffoonery you might see in a sitcom where a fat comedian is married to a thin attractive wife, but its all really a misguided attempt at exalting the role of mothers.
Considering how much I loathed faith-filmmakers Andrew and Jon Erwin’s last film, October Baby, because it was such a thinly veiled anti-abortion propaganda narrative, I was surprised at their ability to integrate their message so gracefully this time. Unfortunately, everything else is pretty terrible anyway. They failed to entertain, but I am just glad that they succeeded in not offending. I can think of at least a dozen films with similar storylines and a far less forced attempt at zaniness. Even worse, all of the evening’s dramatic events are eventually discovered to be innocent misunderstandings and easily explained mistakes. Everyone is extremely nice, even the bikers and tattoo artists that they come across, and at a certain point you may find yourself wishing for a 13 at the end of that PG.
The Blu-ray extras include bloopers and deleted scenes, as well as a number of featurettes which show many of the reasons why this film was so unfunny. One of them is about the improvising done with the script on set, and that made me sad. I had assumed that the actors were attempting to make the best of a bad screenplay, but their additions make them as culpable for the lack of laughs. There is also a filmmaker commentary.
Entertainment Value: 4.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 2/10
Historical Significance: 1/10