Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Moms’ Night Out

posted by Nell Minow
B+
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action
Profanity:Mild language
Nudity/Sex:Marital kissing
Alcohol/Drugs:Some drinking, references to substance abuse
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril, mostly comic, taser, tattoo parlor
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2014
DVD Release Date:September 1, 2014
© 2014 AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment & Provident Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment & Provident Films, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

It may feel like a kinder, gentler, sweeter version of “Adventures in Babysitting” or “The Hangover,” but this charming story manages to avoid getting syrupy, even when everyone settles down in the midst of chaos for a little talk about God’s love. It helps that the conversation is with a scary-looking tattooed biker type played by country star Trace Adkins. It is a very funny movie with an exceptionally likeable cast and a warm-hearted, surprisingly touching tribute to moms and their families, as endearing as a Mother’s Day Card made from a paper plate covered with smeared finger paint and glittery macaroni.

Three moms are just hoping for a night away from cranky toddlers, crankier teenagers, and the perpetual chaos of parenthood, only to stumble into an even greater chaos that (spoiler alert) teaches everyone some important lessons about what really matters. Allyson (adorable Sarah Drew of “Grey’s Anatomy”), is a “clean freak” fighting a losing battle against the most powerful mess generators ever known, young children.  She thinks it would feel comforting to be locked away in a bare white room in a straight jacket. The result: Allyson feels like “the Bruce Banner of stay-at-home moms,” literally tackling a child about to put his finger in his mouth because she is worried about salmonella.  Danger seems to lurk around every corner.  Panic never subsides.

Allyson has a devoted, sympathetic husband (Sean Astin as Sean), but that only makes her feel that she is failing him, too.  Plus the readers of her mommy blog have dropped from four to three. Allyson looks up to Sondra (a nicely wry but heartfelt Patricia Heaton), her preacher’s wife, and thinks of her as “my Oprah, my Dr. Phil, my Gandalf.”  And her closest friend is Izzy (Andrea Logan White).  She has not quite figured out a way to tell her husband, who is very insecure about taking care of their twins, that another baby is on the way.

All three moms are in desperate need of some grown-up time, in grown-up clothes, eating food they did not cook and won’t have to clean up after, with purses emptied out of sippy cups and disinfectant wipes.  So, they make plans for an all-too-rare girls’ night out, get all dressed up, and head out for a very fancy restaurant.

Unfortunately, they never get past the snooty hostess (the always-great Anjelah Johnson-Reyes of “Bon Qui Qui”).  Instead, they find themselves caught up in a vortex that includes a missing car and a missing baby (the child of Sean’s sister), with trips to the emergency room and the police station, a tattoo parlor and cosmic bowling. Adkins has a nice scene as a tattooed biker with some surprisingly good advice. Every mom will relate to Allyson’s “pyramid of co-dependency” and the particular bleakness of feeling that you are living your dream and still cannot feel happy about it.  And to the mantra of the airplane directions for use of oxygen: If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person.  And to “finding the meaning, joy, and purpose in all the craziness.”

Parents should know that the movie includes some peril (no one badly hurt), minor injuries, a character who gets tased, and references to alcoholism.

Family discussion: Why was it hard for Allyson to feel like she was doing a good job?  How do you find purpose in the craziness?

If you like this, try: “Adventures in Babysitting” and “Ramona and Beezus”



  • Michael Foust

    Finally, a movie review about Mom’s Night Out I agree with it! It’s one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. (I saw a screener.) Hilarious and moving. I laughed and cried. Go see it.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks so much, Mr. Foust! I’m so glad to hear from someone else who enjoyed the film. I admit I teared up a bit at the end!

  • Liz Doyle

    Hilarious! Everyone laughing out loud in theatre!

    • Nell Minow

      So glad you enjoyed this movie! I did, too, and was very disappointed that so many critics were hard on it.

  • Liz Doyle

    The critics are out of touch with reality… What they think is funny is not to most people! I have never been in a theatre where Everyone was laughing out loud! It was amazing…I see lots of movies and this was funny!

    • Sanford Sklansky

      Evidently movie fans went along with the critics. It made about 4 million at the box office

      • Nell Minow

        The most important number to look at is the per-theater take, which put this movie third last week, ahead of the Cameron Diaz movie “The Other Woman.” The second most important number is profitability. It’s just about made back its $5 million budget. So it’s doing just fine. Nick hasn’t seen it and probably shouldn’t. I liked it but he probably wouldn’t — but I’m closer to the movie’s demographic than he is.

        • Sanford Sklansky

          did that 5 million budget include advertising. I admit I have problems with math. But as I mentioned according to Rotten Tomatoes. the movie made 4.3.million. i assume that was up to date. As far as the Other Woman goes, it did make more money but Carmen Diaz probably got a ton of money. Heaton is harlly a big movie star and she probably got paid way less. Even so I can’t believe that Mom’s Night out was made for only 5 million.(including advertising) I tried looking that up. My search techniques are some times as bad as my math abilities. 87 per cent of the audience did like the movie. Well there is no accounting for taste. I wish NIck had seen the movie. Since you and he agree most of the time it would have made for a lively discussion. Nick can be really funny when he hates a movie. I don’t know if you ever get to listen to the slashfilmcast podcast. It is really great. They did not review a movie last week so instead they talked about movie news and other things. But in the 3rd portion they did talk about movie criticism and the difference between what audiences like and critics like. It was an interesting discussion.

          • Nell Minow

            Patricia Heaton was a producer of the film, so she probably took very little in salary, if any. They almost made back their production costs in the first week of release and will almost certainly exceed that this week. With DVD, etc. she will make a profit, including advertising and distribution costs. I always enjoy arguing with Nick, though I don’t think we’d have much to talk about on this one. Did you see it, by the way?

          • Sanford Sklansky

            This was from the Hollywood reporter,so I am not sure if it is is trustworthy or not. By the way did you consider this a Christian family movie? Christian female comedy Moms’ Night Out, hoping to take part in the boom enjoyed by a recent string of faith-based movies, opened to $4.2 million from 1,044 theaters to come in No. 7. Ironically, the $10 million film was beat by fellow TriStar faith-based film Heaven Is for Real, which placed No. 4 in its fourth weekend with $7 million, putting its domestic total at a stunning $75.2 million. So evidently the 4.2 million that I saw on rotten tomatoes, was from the opening weekend. I suppose by Monday there should be an update on what the movie as made. Most movies decline in taking in money the second week.

          • Sanford Sklansky

            I just wanted to add that you and the Hollywood reporter differ quite widely in how much the movie cost. Like I said my math comprehension is not always the best but I don’t see how a ten or even five million is more than 4 million. I did not see it. I see that Heaton’s husband was also an executive producers, plus there were 9 other producers. How many people does it take to produce such a low budget movie. I don’t pay much attention to credits, but is that usual.

          • Nell Minow

            According to IMDB Pro, which is pretty reliable, the budget was $5 million. I’m sure they will make a modest profit. It is not at all ironic that “Heaven is for Real” will make a bigger profit. It was a higher profile film with bigger stars and a top-ranked director and was based on a book that is a huge international best-seller. It is not unusual to see a lot of producers on any size movie. The term is something of a catch-all and can mean “had the original rights to the property” or “got us a location for free.” “Heaven is for Real” had seven. The low-budget “Chef” had 24. “God’s Not Dead,” a Christian-themed film with a $2 million budget that has made a phenomenal $58 million, had ten producers.

            It is a Christian movie, in that there is a brief discussion of God’s love (as I said in my review) and one of the characters is a preacher’s wife. But unlike “God’s Not Dead” and “Heaven is for Real,” Christianity is not the subject of the film. About the level of a “Veggie Tales” DVD. I would not say it’s for Christian audiences only.

          • Sanford Sklansky

            I don’t have IMBD pro. I am guessing there is more information on there, but I use IMBD to see who has starred in certain movies or tv and things of that nature. I have heard that IMBD is not always accurate.

          • Nell Minow

            I’m not sure what point you are trying to make about this movie. IMDB Pro is, as I said, pretty reliable, and it lists a $5 million budget, the same figure as in The Hollywood Reporter (http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/moms-night-will-hollywoods-religious-701771) and Box Office Mojo. As of today, the movie has made over $7 million. So, as I said, it will make a modest profit.

  • Sanford Sklansky

    14 per cent on rotten tomatoes. Only made about 4 million at the box office. I don’t believe you discussed this with Nick. I bet if he saw it he probably hated it

  • Pingback: Interview: Sarah Drew of “Mom’s Night Out” - Movie Mom

  • Ed

    This is one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Narration here and there, bad “over” acting trying to represent a stressed parent, poorly written, directed and produced movie, My wife and I got up 30 minutes into it, and now wish we had left earlier.

  • Ed

    Oh, there were several that got up and left. And, it was quiet in the theater, no laughter. I highly recommend not going to see this.

    • Nell Minow

      Thanks for writing, Ed — I always like to give my readers a range of reactions to a movie, though it would have been more meaningful if you’d stayed to the end. The “over”-acting and narration you did not like sets up the rest of the film in a way I found amusing. But if it was not what you were looking for, I’m glad you left.

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