'Mom's Night Out' Review: Family-Friendly Chaos with Heart and Soul
Faith-based movies wear their religion on their sleeves. Mom's Night Out wears spilled milk on its blouse.
This PG-rated comedy packs not a spiritual punch but a mild, almost feathery uppercut. The film follow three moms who could really use some time away from their kids, and along the way they re-learn lessons about love, marriage and the big picture.
Grey's Anatomy co-star Sarah Drew is Allyson, a Type A mom at her wit's end. Her doting hubby (Sean Astin) suggests she call up some girlfriends and hit the town. So Ally throws on her neglected high heels and gathers Izzy (Andrea Logan White) and Sondra (Patricia Heaton) for a relaxing dinner.
The reservations get botched, and that could be the highlight of the night. The ensuing chaos brings in an avuncular cabbie (David Hunt), a kind-hearted biker named Bones (a terrific Trace Adkins) and a gaggle of supporting players who only add to the chaos and good humor.
Drew is adorable as the frazzled star, a mom coming to grips with her own super-sized expectations, but Kevin Downes puts a sly spin on the dude who wants to stay as far away from kids as possible.
Directors Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin of October Baby fame show a sprightly comic style down to the text-like messages on screen. They have a plucky heroine in Drew, who manages to be both lovable and approachable as she ever so gently breaks down before our eyes.
The film loses its way when the chaos reaches a series of boiling points. To say that everything goes wrong on this Night is to understate the maelstrom. The Erwins work hard to build likable characters dealing with issues most parents will recognize. Those oh, so human feelings get bludgeoned by the hyperactive story.
Good thing Adkins arrives mid-film to offer a towering sense of calm. The singer turned actor muscles the movie into shape, offering both sly comic morsels and a tablespoon of faith to help the main characters.
Like Heaven Is for Real before it, Mom's Night Out features characters who just so happen to be Christians. Their faith is a part of their life, not a plot device or object to ridicule. When the spiritual messages arrive, they offer a welcome respite from the madness.
Mom's Night Out will strike a chord with moms who need their own break from the rigors of parenthood but wouldn't trade their lives for anything in the world.