Ever since Allyson was a little girl, she’s wanted to be a wife and mother. So why now, with a loving husband and three beautiful children, is she not happy? Being a mom is so much harder than she had counted on. In fact, there are some days when this dream life of hers feels more like a nightmare. Why do other women seem to have it all together when the best she can do is keep herself from falling apart?
There’s a little bit of Allyson in every mom. Even my wonderful, godly wife, the mother of our seven children, admitted to me the other day that she feels like she’s never measured up. The demands on mothers today—the carpool schedules, home responsibilities, and in many cases, a full-time job outside the home—stretch the limits of human endurance, and sanity.
Actually, Allyson is not a real person. But her movie screen life in the upcoming movie Mom’s Night Out will strike a chord with nearly every real life mom.
Mom’s Night Out, set for release on May 9—Mother’s Day weekend—is the second film by brothers Andy and Jon Erwin. Their 2011 directorial debut—October Baby—was a poignant drama punctuated by a few comedic moments. Mom’s Night Out is almost it’s exact opposite; it’s wall-to-wall comedy with a positive message about motherhood and family. And as lead actress Sarah Drew (Allyson) describes it, the movie is “a Mother’s Day gift to moms.”
The story begins with the stressed-out Allyson trying to blog about her toddler-ridden, overly-busy, wonderful life as a mother. But stress seems to have swallowed up any wisdom or encouragement that she might have to offer fellow moms. She decides that what she needs is a night away with her girlfriends to recalibrate—an idea her husband Sean gladly stands behind. So the guys get together to watch the children while Allyson and friends enjoy a laid-back night on the town.
Or at least that’s the plan.
An endless comedy of errors develops, turning the downtime into downright pandemonium. Co-director Jon Erwin describes how the mayhem paves the way for a message that all moms need to take to heart.
“I love the antics and the mayhem—it’s hysterical. But it’s also a story with heart, which is what I love in a great comedy. … In the middle of that, she [Allyson] really learns where she should find her true value, and where she should find her true worth … I hope my wife and every mom out there has just a sense of how important she is … how near and dear to the heart of God the role of mom is, and how special it is.”
I’m not typically one drawn to madcap comedy, but Mom’s Night Out really delivers the entertainment and more importantly, the message that families matter. Motherhood (and fatherhood) are noble callings, undertaken by frail women and men who so often get so distracted by the difficulty of parenting that they lose sight of the true importance of what they’ve given their lives to.
Not only is Mom’s Night Out fun and meaningful, it is high quality entertainment. Just a glance at the billing reveals lineup of proven actors and actresses. Sarah Drew (Allyson) is best known as Dr. April Kepner from Grey’s Anatomy, and her husband is played by Sean Astin (Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings trilogy). Patricia Heaton (Debra Barone from Everybody Loves Raymond) plays Sondra, wife of the Pastor Ray (played by Alex Kendrick, the main character in Courageous). Kendrick is joined by fellow Courageous actors Robert “Snake King” Amaya, and bad cop Kevin Downes (who also produced Mom’s Night Out). And country music superstar Trace Adkins shows he’s an accomplished actor as well in his portrayal of Bones.
Co-director Andy Erwin said every one of these actors was who they had in mind when the script was written. And Downes said that almost every one of the stars is a believer and parent, which helps deliver the Mom’s Night Out message that parenthood is a God-designed calling.
Throughout the movie, main characters Ally and Sean lift each other up and give each other grace as they seek to handle life issues in a healthy way. Pastor Ray and wife Sondra agree to be in agreement when faced with the relentless requests of their teenage daughter. Even the characters who don’t shine as strong examples of responsibility show glimmers of grace when they step up in little ways on behalf of each other and the children. One particular interaction—the pivotal moment in the film, in fact—involves some pearls of wisdom from a very unlikely source, changing Ally’s perspective on herself and motherhood.
Sarah Drew shines as Ally, portraying a wide range of emotions of a mom who goes comes the brink of total breakdown to one who learns to embrace her own shortcomings as a mother. Trace Adkins deadpans the character of Bones, a teddy bear of a tattoo artist and biker dude.
Whether you’re a mom or a dad or the child of one, Mom’s Night Out will be an evening well spent. The official debut of the Sony Tri-Star film couldn’t be any better timed—Mother’s Day weekend. We encourage dads to mark the date on the family calendar right now as a Mom’s Night Out. Let your wife choose whether she’d rather see the movie with her girlfriends, as a date night with you, or as a fun outing for the whole family.
But make sure you see it opening weekend. It’s scheduled to open on over 1,000 screens, but that could expand with a great showing that weekend. Mainstream Hollywood has already started to notice the Christian movie-going audience. The Erwin brothers raise the bar on the quality of Christian filmmaking with this picture, and a great opening weekend would send a message to Hollywood that people have a hunger for these kind of well-made, positive films for the whole family.
Click here for the Mom's Night Out website.
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