Two weeks ago my daughter sent me a link to the Mom’s Night Out trailer for this movie and said, “I don’t know how, but they have mastered the art of not looking like a Christian movie.” I watched the trailer and enjoyed it but thought surely the movie could not live up to the trailer. Either it wouldn’t be as funny, or it would be shallow and lacking in any kind of spiritual depth. I was wrong!
Mom’s Night Out is not just the funniest Christian movie I’ve ever seen. It’s the funniest movie, period! I had the opportunity last night to watch a screening with a theater filled with women’s ministry leaders, worship pastors, journalists, and moms. And from the first few seconds all the way to the ending credits, the audience was not just chuckling or giggling occasionally but downright dissolving into uncontrollable laughter constantly.
Mom’s Night Out is the story of four moms who are stressed to the max and in need of a break. All stages and sizes of family are represented. The movie captures not only the struggles for young moms with multiple toddlers, but the anxieties facing moms of only children and teens. John Erwin (October Baby) and Andrea Gyertson Nasfell (What If) did a amazing job of capturing life as a mom. And while the focus is on the main women, their characterization extended into every character no matter how small a role.
Mom’s Night Out has an impressive all-star cast including many Christian movie favorites such as Alex Kendrick (Facing the Giants), Robert Amaya (Courageous), Sammi Hanratty (The Lost Medallion), Jason Burkey (October Baby), Kevin Downes (Courageous), and Sean Astin (Amazing Love) as well as Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Trace Atkins (The Lincoln Lawyer), Sarah Drew (Grey’s Anatomy) does a wonderful job as the lead mom. She expertly captures the fear and vulnerability that comes with motherhood. One of my favorite characters was Bones, played by Trace Atkins. He did a fabulous job of playing a gentle giant tattoo artist. I also loved the perfect antagonist woman at church, although I can’t seem to find the name of the actress. Honestly, there wasn’t a weak performance in the movie.
A popular complaint among movie reviewers about Christian movies is that the filmmakers are so focused on the message, the story suffers. Mom’s Night Out is first and foremost an entertaining story. It captures you in the first few frames and holds your attention until the final ending credits. However, the message isn’t sacrificed. It’s there loud and clear. And I just loved that the “sermon” scene in the movie was delivered by the most unexpected character in the movie. The theme of God’s unconditional love is there interwoven throughout every scene. God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. He loves us even when we fall short of the unrealistically high expectations we hold for ourselves.
Anyone who has ever been a mom, had a mom, or known a mom should watch this movie. It would be ideal to show at a women’s retreat or any other women’s event. It’s a movie that can be enjoyed by men and women alike as well as Christian and non-Christian. It’s a movie to watch over and over again for years to come.