Earlier this year my college daughter sent me the Mom’s Night Out trailer and said, “I don’t know how, but they have mastered the art of not looking like a Christian movie.” After watching the movie, I think we can take it a step further. The Mom’s Night Out movie as a whole has mastered the art of not looking like a Christian movie.
Now, personally, I love Christian movies, but I must admit that there is a difference between the typical Christian movie and the typical Hollywood movie. A lot of it has to do with budget, but more importantly for me, is the story. I love a well told story. I love layers and snappy dialogue. I love writing that makes me laugh and writing that makes me cry. Well, Mom’s Night Out has it all. I got to watch an early screener and it far exceeded any expectations I already had for it. I laughed from beginning to end and even teared up at a couple of sentimental moments. Mom’s Night Out is now my favorite movie ever, and so I was delighted when I got an invitation to interview Andy Erwin. I was delighted to hear little behind the scenes stories of the work that went into the making of the movie.
First, the writing in Mom’s Night Out is truly a work of art. They started with the basic script by Andrea Gyertson Nasfall then spent two years polishing and tweaking it, maintaining the original heart of the story, but playing with it and pushing it to new levels. For me, the pinnacle of writing skill is evidenced in the scene where Marco is arrested. This is perhaps the funniest scene in the movie and it’s all because of all these small details throughout the movie that all come into play.
Next came casting. Mom’s Night Out has an incredible collection of actors including Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins, and Alex Kendrick. Remarkably, they were able to get all their first choice actors. “Very rarely do you get your first choice of actors,” said Andy. “In this case, every person for every role, we got our first choice. That never happens. Even cameos we got first choice.”
I was curious what it was like filming such a funny movie and Andy admitted that they were literally laughing throughout. “During the scene where Marco is arrested, I probably ruined several takes I was laughing so hard.”
The final touch that makes Mom’s Night Out come to life is the editing. Andy said he underestimated how hard it is to edit comedy. “It’s either funny or not,” he said. “We worked in the editorial process to tighten every comedy point to get it precisely where we wanted.” With trepidation they took it to the first test audience and were pleased when the audience laughed at all the right points, almost a roller coaster ride of laughter and emotion.
Andy is excited about releasing Mom’s Night Out this Mother’s Day weekend. Comedy has been an under-represented genre in the faith-based film world and so he hopes this movie will be a breath of fresh air. Just based on my own response as well as others who have seen the movie already, I think both the Christian and secular movie goers are in for a treat.