All I can say is, “It’s about time!” For years, most comedy available in the Christian film genre has been stand-up comedy like Chonda Pierce, Bob Smiley and Tim Hawkins (my personal favorite). But it’s hard to sell stand-up to the family for the Friday or Saturday movie night. Somehow, we always prefer a feature film. Though a handful of comedies like Backroads and Lillies, Rogue Saints, 3 Day Test, and Me Again have graced the DVD shelves over the last few years, none have hit the movie theaters on a national scale. Moms' Night Out is about to break that tradition and will hopefully begin a new trend in Christian comedy feature films.
When Ally (Sarah Drew) and her stressed-out friends, Sondra (Patricia Heaton) and Izzy (Andrea Logan White), decide they need a break from their crazy routines, they schedule a Moms' Night Out. Hoping to reconnect with other adults, feel beautiful, and treat themselves to a special time, the ladies’ evening is instead interrupted by a chain of events that unravel their nerves. Though the events that transpire are somewhat farcical and highly unlikely, this is a comedy, folks. “Impossible” is the formula for all great comedies in history. It’s a fun ride that sprinkles glimmers of truth throughout.
Co-writers Jon Erwin and Andrea Gyerston Nasfell (Silver Bells, The Christmas Angel, What If…) merged their award-winning talents to create a fabulous script. Add to that the skill of excellent actors such as Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Andrea Logan White, and two delightful performances by Sammi Hanratty and Trace Adkins, and you’ve got a well-performed story. But pile on the directing team of Jon and Andrew Erwin (October Baby) and the production experience of Kevin Downes (The Lost Medallion, Like Dandelion Dust, the Moment After) and you’ve got something worth bringing to theaters. The product of many creative, experienced minds, Moms' Night Out already sets itself apart as one of this year’s best.
I have to be honest, however, the humor isn’t what really sold me on this film. Instead, the story captures the true heart of parenting small children. It is astounding that a person can feel such a powerful level of love and gratitude, and that it can be equal to their desperation to escape the very thing they love. Just ask any mom who is trying to hold on to the last shred of her fading identity. You will learn that the transition to motherhood is a painful ripping away of everything we once loved about ourselves. It is also the creation of something entirely new and equally wonderful.
But that’s only the first layer. As Ally and her friends get deeper into their evening of chaos, the layers begin to peel back, revealing one of society’s greatest challenges to motherhood: performance mentality. This film is sure to hit home with women who feel like they can never get a handle on life. There is always too much, and when they fail to manage it, they fail. Period. I remember feeling that way ALL THE TIME as a young mom, and I still feel pangs of it weekly. A constant battle wages between the urge to perform well and the knowing that performance matters little in the grand scheme of things. The moment of Ally’s epiphany is the perfect place to stop, and the perfect place to start (but I won’t give that away!).
Moms' Night Out opens in theaters May 9, Mother’s Day Weekend. Grab the girls (or the kids) and go have a good laugh. You might also get a good cry out of it.
Visit http://momsnightoutmovie.com to find out where it's playing and to buy tickets online.
Talking Points for Kids
Ages 0-5: Who were the most important people to the kids in the movie? Name the most important people in your life. Is it important for you to be able to do the things you like to do? Is it important for moms and dads to get to do the things they like to do? How can you help your parents do some of the things they love?
Ages 6-12: Moms are often admired for taking care of the house, meals and children, and in this story, the dads didn’t do such a good job. What are some other things that dads are good at? What does your dad love doing the most? Have you ever heard your mom say she just wanted to get away for a while? Does that hurt your feelings? Are there ever times that you want to get away from your brothers and sisters for a short time? Does that mean you don’t love them? Do you think if your mom needs a break, that she still loves you very much? If you could dress up your mom for a fun night out, what would you put on her?
Ages 13+: Could you relate to the teenage girl in the movie? Do you feel like your parents don’t trust you or give you enough credit for being able to behave in difficult situations? Do you have friends whose parents let them do anything they want? If so, do you think those parents are wise or foolish? Do those teenagers usually make good decisions or get into trouble? What are some things you can do that build trust and rapport with your parents?