Moms Night Out
Sony Pictures // PG // $30.99 // September 2, 2014
Review by Kurt Dahlke | posted September 26, 2014
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
Mom's Night Out:
Pretty sure no one reads these reviews with the reviewer in mind, but what do I know? However, if you're aware of my bent, it's towards horror. But I have a soft spot for Christian movies too, even though I ascribe to no particular religion. (If asked under penalty of death, if I believe in (a) god, I would for sure stammer a bit before cocking up some sort of answer. Anyway, anyone who wants to shout out affirmations of, 'yes! I love Kurt Dahlke's reviews!' - do so now, or forever hold your peace.) That said, Mom's Night Out is a well-serviceable comedy of errors that's Hollywood-slick, and - despite some cloying elements and proselytization - capable of yanking more than a few laughs out of a good-as-agnostic shlub lying on the couch in the throes of food-poisoning.

Allyson (Sarah Drew) is an overworked stay-at-home-mom struggling to find meaning in her life in the face of her sweet but wild brood. (As a dad who served stay-at-home duties for six years, I can relate.) She's a struggling blogger (hello, 2004!) unable to express her dissatisfaction with life, much less understand it. As such, she finds it necessary to schedule a 'mom's night out' with her bestie, (Andrea Logan White) and her mentor - the Pastor's wife (Patricia Heaton). In typical fashion, said night goes sideways almost immediately, and Honeybunch just can't handle it, though she's militantly determined to have a good time anyway.

In addition to the sheer folly of leaving all the kids home with her (of course) hapless husband (Sean Astin) and friends, the ladies must deal with a missing baby, high-speed police pursuit, wacky tattoo artists, and gravelly-voiced, motorcycle tough-guy Trace Adkins. On the surface, Mom's Night Out is equal to movies like Date Night with its madcap antics, chaos, and life lessons. And, despite the one misstep of multiple heart-strings-tugging codas ("I have a blog! I'm a Mommyblogger!" exclaims Allyson in one gag -inducing moment) it's a successful kooky comedy quite capable of delivering its share of chuckles.

As with most modern Hollywood fare crafted through the good graces of Syd Fields' formula, Mom's Night Out is required to deliver a message, and of course it's here where the movie hops right off the secular path. I'm no fan of proselytizing in movies, regardless of the underpinnings of whatever sermon you're getting, so when Adkins begins his 5-minute homily about 'accepting your path and doing your best,' I mentally check out, and it has nothing to do with the sudden supporting roles of God and Jesus Christ. Other humanist viewers may be less forgiving, since the strong presence of the Christian savior is a defiant inclusion in such movies, but maybe it's a shabby reason to dis on a movie that's an otherwise frantic, charming diversion for a night when you need a little down time. Mom's Night Out is mostly clever, silly, and engaging. It's Recommended for the devout crowd, and a fine rent for Family Movie Night, if you're so-blessed.

The DVD

Video:
Verily, Mom's Night Out doth look pristine in thine 2.40:1 ratio, 1080p HD transfer. Details are sharp and consistent throughout. Colors look fantastic, with natural flesh tones and good, deep black levels. If there's a defect you can think of, you won't find it here, which is of course as it should be for a brand new movie.

Sound:
Likewise, tis the English (and French) 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track pretty exemplary. Surround elements are present but not overbearing, dialog is quite clear and mixed expertly within other elements. Music is never intrusive except during transitional sequences, when the songs featured are actually pretty good, appropriate to the movie, and pretty dang mainstream. Low end is also robust and faithfully reproduced, as amply demonstrated every time Trace Adkins opens his mouth.

Extras:
Sony, Tristar, Affirm Films, Provident Films and Pure|Flix hand out a decent slate of extras, including five featurettes from 3 to 6 minutes in length. You get: Deleted Scenes, The Heart of Mom's Night Out, Casting, The Art of Improv and The Art of Action. These all are produced in a manner befitting a safety video for an airline, by which I mean they're super slick, with distilled intro graphics for each piece, (using only the sexiest images of Sarah Drew and others, for what that's worth) and are otherwise nominally engaging EPK type bits. The one about improv on the set is revealing and fun. Five minutes of Bloopers fall flat, but a Filmmaker's Commentary Track is comprehensive and engaging. Over 20 minutes of Trailers contain more than a couple of other Christian-themed movies I will likely end up tracking down, too. Lastly, English, French, Spanish, and English SDH subtitles are available, as is a Digital HD Ultraviolet Download Code.

Final Thoughts:
As Christian-themed movies gain foothold in the world of secular cinema, Mom's Night Out leads the comedy charge. It's a frantic, charming diversion for a night when you need a little down time. With enough laughs and goofy situations to please even me on my sickbed, this mostly clever, silly, and engaging trifle contains not only the usual 'message' of loving the Lord and trusting His ways, but also solid comedy performances from everyone, and even a few surprises. It's Recommended for the devout crowd, and a fine rent for Family Movie Night.



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