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Moms' Night Out Blu-ray Review

Moms' Night Out (2014) movie poster Moms' Night Out

Theatrical Release: May 9, 2014 / Running Time: 99 Minutes / Rating: PG

Directors: Andrew Erwin, Jonathan Erwin / Writers: Andrea Nasfell, Jonathan Erwin

Cast: Sarah Drew (Allyson Field), Sean Astin (Sean Field), Patricia Heaton (Sondra), Trace Adkins (Bones), David Hunt (Cabbie), Andrea Logan White (Izzy), Harry Shum Jr. (Joey), Abbie Cobb (Bridget), Robert Amaya (Marco), Kevin Downes (Kevin), Alex Kendrick (Pastor Ray), Sammi Hanratty (Zoe), Michael Leone (Brandon Field), Shiloh Nelson (Bailey Field), Brett Rice (Sergeant Murphy), Rhoda Griffis (Glenda), Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (Hostess), Manwell Reyes (Tattoo Desk Guy), Randy McDowell (Hank), Lance Nichols (Ronald), Odessa Sykes (Mary), Jason Burkey (Bowling Alley DJ), Victor Turner (Police Desk Officer), Brad Heller (Restaurant Visionary)

Buy Moms' Night Out from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Faith-friendly film chalked up two very big commercial wins last spring, when the dramas Heaven Is for Real and God's Not Dead grossed significant multiples of their modest budgets. The generally niche and non-theatrical market did not fare nearly as well with May's release of Moms' Night Out,
a Christian comedy that earned twice its budget but largely struck out with both critics and moviegoers.

There is virtually no precedent for this film, with past Christian movies looking to inspire, move, or awaken with sentimental family drama, Biblical stories, and apocalyptic tales of the Rapture. The makers of Moms' Night Out, no strangers to Christian film, opted to do something different by injecting a little faith into what looks like a harmless, mainstream comedy.

We open on Mother's Day, which finds protagonist Allyson Field (Sarah Drew) overwhelmed. Her two young children have tried to make her breakfast for her special day, but all she can think about is them potentially contracting salmonella poisoning. With her husband Sean (Sean Astin) traveling for work as usual, Mom has her hands full getting the kids and herself ready for Church. A mommy blogger struggling to find anything worth writing and anyone to write for, Allyson is increasingly exasperated by her life of full-time parenting.

Allyson (Sarah Drew) is unable to enjoy her children's Mother's Day gift of breakfast.

As a much-needed outlet, Allyson, her best friend, Sunday school teacher Izzy (Andrea Logan White), and seemingly perfect preacher's wife Sondra (Patricia Heaton) schedule a Saturday night outing for just the three of them. Leaving their husbands to tend to their kids, the ladies intend to redeem Allyson's Groupon at a fancy restaurant. But the restaurant does not have their reservation, the first of many setbacks the women will endure this evening. Heeding Sean's advice to "unplug", Allyson rounds up her and her friends' cell phones to stash them inside her minivan. Their improvised fallback plans take them to a bowling alley.

Things take a turn when Allyson realizes that baby of her husband's half-sister, unfiltered, unwed teenager Bridget (Abbie Cobb), may not be getting the supervision he needs. That's because Bridget left the baby with her ex ("Glee"'s Harry Shum Jr.), who is spotted gallivanting at the aforementioned fancy restaurant with a young woman, but no baby in sight. Making matters worse, Allyson's minivan is apparently stolen with all their cell phones inside.

The men have their own series of comic misadventures, as they take the kids out, only to run into medical problems, a loose parakeet, and a reported car theft (figure that one out yet?). Meanwhile, the women hook up with a British cabbie (David Hunt) and Bones (country singer Trace Adkins), the manager of the tattoo parlor where Bridget's baby may have been last seen.

The dads (led by Sean Astin) and their kids have comic misadventures of their own. Despite the gruff, tattooed exterior, Bones (Trace Adkins) proves to be a source of comfort and wisdom before the night is done.

Moms' Night Out feels like a wildly unsuccessful attempt to prove that Bridesmaids could have been just as funny with a PG rating. Calculated, corny, and oh so contrived, this plays like a feature-length sitcom with hijinks that could very well have been lifted from 20-year-old reruns. The flimsy comedy takes aim at rich, easy targets,
like the pratfalls of faulty AutoCorrect, uncooperative motion-activated paper towel dispensers, and the meaning of "next Saturday" and doesn't even get so much as a chuckle out of them. It paints a terrifying picture of motherhood without explicitly exaggerating for comic relief. It clumsily sets up jokes in advance without yielding great dividends.

Then there is the faith aspect. At first glance, the Christian classification seems to have been applied loosely. The film treats Baptist churchgoing casually, like an early '90s sitcom might have. You may even question the need for the Affirm Films banner, which Sony reserves for faith-driven, evangelical-friendly entertainment like Fireproof and Courageous from Sherwood Pictures (whose founder, regular director, and onscreen fixture Alex Kendrick plays Heaton's pastor husband). But the film comes around to dropping some encouraging words about God, most meaningfully from the unlikely vessel of Pinterest-surfing tattooed biker Bones.

The formulaic comedy and heartfelt faith go together like candy and Holy Communion, a combination no one would ever think or dare to try. Part of me admires the filmmakers attempting such a bold and unlikely blend, but a bigger part laments that cinema continues to falter when it comes to incorporating Christian themes and messages in an artful and tasteful way. No viewer will be offended by Moms' Night Out, but they should feel insulted by such banal gags as a broken car stereo blaring a kids' CD and a police stop plagued by miscommunication. Rampant Sony product placement doesn't help.

Brothers-directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, whose previous film (the 2012 pro-life college drama October Baby) fared okay with moviegoers despite unfavorable reviews, probably mean well. But they and Jon's co-writer Andrea Gyertson Nasfell could all stand to have their senses of humor and cinema experience questioned. It seems legitimately possible that the Erwins and Nasfell haven't seen enough movies or television to know that they're just recycling and stretching thin bits that have been sharper and funnier elsewhere. If they are more interested in spreading God's word than making viewers laugh, they're not succeeding any better on that front. The movie isn't nearly good enough to open minds or resonate with those who aren't already actively praying, attending church, and counting their blessings on a regular basis.

Opening Mother's Day weekend, Moms' Night Out struggled to find an audience in a little over 1,000 theaters and never really expanded any further than that, en route to a lackluster $10.4 million domestic gross, which probably doesn't bode well for the film's international prospects. (Only Australia and Sweden have thus far treated the film to limited theatrical release.) Sony brings the movie to home video today in separate Blu-ray and DVD editions.

Moms' Night Out Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS HD-MA (English, French), Dolby Digital 5.1 (Spanish, English DVS)
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extras Subtitled in English
Release Date: September 2, 2014 Suggested Retail Price: $30.99
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($26.99 SRP) and on Amazon Instant Video


Moms' Night Out looks decent enough for a $5 million film and the Blu-ray maintains Sony's standard of excellence on the format. The 2.40:1 visuals are nicely complemented by a 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack that is chock full of music including a couple of recognizable pop hits.

Pastor Ray (Alex Kendrick) takes a peek at the live eagle nest camera his wife (Patricia Heaton) is obsessed with in this deleted scene. Patricia Heaton discusses "The Heart of 'Moms' Night Out'", a film she executive produces in addition to co-starring in.


The Blu-ray's extras begin with an audio commentary by directors Andrew and Jon Erwin and producer-actor Kevin Downes. This is strictly for fans, as these three are very proud of the film and excited to tell you all about making it. Their pride will discourage anyone less than bowled over by the film, but at least it ensures a full and lively discussion.
Overestimating their accomplishments, they liken their work to Tarantino and classical myths and two of their actresses to Lucille Ball. Details are dispatched, experiences are shared, and these guys regularly voice an appreciation for their wives that isn't evident from the movie itself. Pre-existing fans of the duo and those won over by this comedy should find this an informative and enjoyable listen, but everyone else ought to avoid it.

The all-HD video side kicks off with five very short and insignificant deleted scenes (2:58), which are all unused snippets from existing scenes.

"The Heart of Moms' Night Out" (3:56) lets cast, crew members, and crew members' wives speak to the film's important themes, with their comments complemented by some black and white behind-the-scenes footage.

Sarah Drew and Sean Astin laugh about how cool or uncool they are in "Casting 'Moms' Night Out.'" As a big time movie, "Moms' Night Out" made use of big time technology, planning out an action scene with this cutting-edge computer-animated animatic.

"Casting Moms' Night Out" (6:22) allows the filmmakers the chance to sing the praises of the actors featured here, all of whom were supposedly their first choices.

"The Art of Improv" (4:47) illustrates the cast's ability to ad lib and reinforces the notion that everyone had such a good time.

"The Art of Action" (5:11) turns our attentions to the movie's lone car chase, which the filmmakers broke down with toy cars, storyboards, animatics, and stunt choreography.
It's all standard stuff, though new and exciting to those who work in Christian cinema.

Finally, "Bloopers" (5:36) shows us goofs and shenanigans from filming. It upholds the usual correlation between the entertainment value of a comedy and of its gag reel.

The disc opens with a long promo for Affirm Films, followed by trailers for When the Game Stands Tall, Heaven Is for Real, Soul Surfer, Courageous, and the upcoming Annie remake. The Previews listing repeats all of these except for the first. The trailer for Moms' Night Out is not included here.

The menu plays score over the poster/cover police lineup image and uses a spilled sippy cup for a cursor. The Blu-ray supports bookmarks and resumes playback as well.

The lone insert in the side-snapped keepcase supplies the unique redemption code for the Digital HD UltraViolet included with your purchase and promotes a quartet of family-friendlyish Sony and Affirm titles.

Whether strolling in slow motion or moving at regular speed, these moms (Andrea Logan White, Sarah Drew, and Patricia Heaton) are crazy...responsible.


Between the lamebrained gags and the underwhelming, relatively unseasoned cast, Moms' Night Out feels awfully close to an insipid ABC Family original movie. While there is sure to be a part of the population who's simply grateful to find a live-action movie rated PG or a Hollywood production acknowledging religion and God, that audience deserves a lot better than the hacky sitcomish comedy they're given here.

Sony's Blu-ray features first-rate picture and sound in addition to a supply of self-congratulatory extras that won't at all endear those who don't enjoy the movie.

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Reviewed September 2, 2014.

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and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.