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.