The Austin Chronicle

Mom's Night Out

Rated PG, 98 min. Directed by Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin. Starring Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins, Logan White, David Hunt, Abbie Cobb, Robert Amaya, Harry Shum Jr..

REVIEWED By Steve Davis, Fri., May 16, 2014

The faith-based Mom’s Night Out celebrates the second Sunday in May like a 6-year-old who cobbles together a homemade Mother’s Day card with crayons, construction paper, and some glue. The heart’s in the right place, but aesthetically speaking, it’s not terribly sophisticated. The movie aspires to be an inspirational screwball comedy of sorts about the stresses of motherhood, but the situational humor lacks the spontaneity necessary for some crazy fun. The fairly unimaginative script plays like a series of “Wouldn’t it be hilarious if?” scenarios as imagined by the Family Channel, with a little bit of the Christian Broadcasting Network thrown in for godly measure.

Of the three moms all on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the frazzled Allyson (overplayed by a well-intended Drew) is unquestionably the farthest out on the ledge. Her kids lack discipline, her husband is always working, and her self-esteem diminishes with each self-critical assessment of her maternal capabilities. Along with her BFF Izzy (White) and the pastor’s wife (Heaton), Allyson decides to take a temporary break from motherhood and kick up her high heels a little with an evening out on the town, starting with a fancy dinner and adult conversation at “Chez Magique.” (The movie is full of silly names, like the pet canary named “Mama” that inexplicably travels in the backseat of a minivan.) Predictably enough, nothing goes as planned and bland hijinks inevitably ensue. As a way to bring it all together, a tattooed motorcyclist (played by a grounded Adkins) wisely sermonizes about God, faith, child-rearing, and an online streaming video of a female eagle caring for her young that apparently mesmerizes anyone who watches it. As already noted, it’s not terribly sophisticated stuff, but it will probably work for many of those in its targeted demographic. Indeed, Mom’s Night Out is a movie only a mother could love.

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