Critics Trash PG 'Moms' Night Out,' Glorify NC-17 Sex Romps

Over Mother’s Day weekend, in a thousand U.S. theaters, a family comedy called Moms' Night Out turned into a Rorschach test. Did you see it? The movie, I mean.

Audiences on Rotten Tomatoes, a website that rates movies, scored it 86 percent positive. (One mom posted on Facebook: “How did you get the cameras in my house?”) Critics, meanwhile, shredded it; only 16 percent were positive.

How to explain that enormous gap? Best to let top reviewers speak for themselves. But first, remember: it’s a comedy, not a documentary. And the co-writers/directors are known Christians. How bad could it be?

“Depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous,” said Christy Lemire of RogerEbert.com. Why? It “peddles archaic notions of gender roles,” she said. Christy! It’s a comedy about moms needing a night out. One is a pastor’s wife. They love their husbands—no cheating, boozing, or swearing. The spouse is a life partner and not a sex object. You’re prejudiced. Let’s hear from someone else.

“Unintentionally grotesque” and “worthy of damnation,” Newsday’s Rafer Guzman calls it.

“Unabashedly anti-feminist,” says The Village Voice’s Inkoo Kang, and she slams the stay-at-home mom played by Sarah Drew of Grey’s Anatomy. “Allison’s lack of a profession,” Inkoo writes, “consigns the character into Eisenhower-esque irrelevance.”

Wait a minute. Did critics of The Hangover or Bridesmaids critique the characters’ onscreen professions as New York Times’ critic Neil Genzlinger May does now? “The character, frankly, is an insult to the millions of women who have much more to deal with,” he writes.

Neil, Neil . . . when did a mom’s choice to stay home to raise children become tantamount to social anarchy? It’s not really the movie that’s so objectionable, is it? What really annoys elitist, liberal arbiters of political correctness—be honest—is the film’s target audience.

Over the weekend more than a million women buzzed on Facebook about Moms' Night Out. Thousands typed in variations of, “What a beautiful and timely message for moms and those who love them.” One woman wrote: “I cannot think of a better moms movie than this.”

How dare these women and many of CWA’s 500,000 members enjoy a film that exalts motherhood and portrays marriage as healthy? More to the point, when did the film industry grow so confused that a clean comedy about all different kinds of moms is labeled dangerous and subversive?

Has the world gone mad? Apparently.

What movie does Lemire call “unexpected and so refreshing . . . hugely enjoyable . . . awkward and awesome all at once”? Nymphomaniac: Volume I, a “sex epic” with graphic scenes of violent, explicit sex.

Guzman who labeled Moms' Night Out “unintentionally grotesque,” also praises Nymphomaniac as “explicit yet intellectual.” Examples abound, but space limits me.

Chicago critic Ray Pride lambastes the Moms' Night Out characters as “brittle, hostile, hustling, neurotic modern suburban control freaks . . . who ought to listen to their man, and the Father.” He also writes about the NC-17 Blue Is the Warmest Color: about “. . . the central teen character, Adele . . . finding fierce first love with a confident, blue-haired older girl . . . Kechiche (the director) likes to watch. . . Adele is sexual, and sexualized, and her embodiment of oral desire is ravishing.”

Ray, the film’s character is a 15-year-old girl. Did you just praise not just the movie but the middle-age director for “watching?”

When did good become bad? When did a woman’s choice to stay home to raise children grow so blindingly offensive that movie reviewers failed to see even the other moms on the screen? When did films like Nymphomaniac and Blue — Hollywood-sanctioned pornography — draw praise, while a family film, good or bad, is denounced not just for its art but everything it stands for?

This working mom hopes you will stand up to the snobs in Hollywood and show that success is the best revenge. Support this film and we get more like it. Stay home and the haters win. See the movie and register your vote. Get on Facebook, social media, Rotten Tomatoes. Go where people talk about movies and defend the choice that clearly annoys critics. Stay-at-home moms, it’s your choice!

Thousands of years ago, an opinionated firebrand named Isaiah wrote, “What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter.”

All these years later, here we are, living out his warning in a land where people attempting to do good are shredded not just for the film’s production values but for the characters’ values. 


Penny Nance is the CEO and President of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.


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