Arts, Hollywood
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‘Mom’s Night Out’ should be thankful for its critics


There is a verse in the Gospels, that every Christian should remember.

In Luke 6:26, Jesus said:

Woe to you when all men speak well of you… (Luke 6:26a NASV)

In this verse, Jesus was telling his disciples that if your faith gets to the place where everyone likes you, then you are in trouble. If you are walking right, there will be people who will criticize you and you want their criticism. In fact, your critics become a sign that you are doing the right thing.

This is probably no more true than for a movie currently in the theaters called “Mom’s Night Out.”

Mom’s night out is a faith-based movie about three women who get a night away from their families. The main character is a full-time mom, Allyson (Sarah Drew). She is joined by an insanely busy preacher’s wife Sondra (Patricia Heaton) and Andrea a mother of twins (Logan White). They leave their children in the care of their husbands, which is a challenge in its own right.

But a simple night out turns into an adventure when the three are joined by Allyson’s sister-in-law Bridget played by Abbie Comb. She is a single mom trying to juggle jobs and family. That night she left her child with the father, who in turn left the toddler with a person working at a tattoo parlor who in turn…  So the four set out to track down Bridget’s child.

In exit surveys, 82% of the people who watched the film said they would recommend it to a friend. When you compare this percentage to the national film average of 60%, it shows that ‘Mom’s Night Out’ is clearly a a cut above the regular fare shown in theaters.

On Rottentomatoes.com 90% of the people who saw the movies said they liked it and gave it a rating of 4.5 out of 5. But this is where it gets interesting, because on the same website they provide an overview of the critics who reviewed the movie and only 17% said they liked it. While 90% of movie viewers liked the movie, almost an equal number of movie critics — 83% — didn’t.

What is becoming increasingly obvious is that many hate the movie because of its message — it’s a movie that positively portrays stay-at-home moms.

A couple of lines in particular seem to have riled some of the critics. During a visit to a tattoo parlor, Allyson says,  “I am right where I need to be and God has given me everything I need to be a mom.” The second appears at the end of the movie, when the moms and families are reunited. Allyson’s husband (played by Lord of the Rings actor Sean Astin) tells Allyson her job is the most important of all — raising the kids. Well, you would have thought Sean stepped on the cat’s tail with that statement.

Here is a sampling of what the critics said:

A critic on RogerEbert.com described it this way:

“Depressingly regressive and borderline dangerous, “Moms’ Night Out” peddles archaic notions of gender roles in the name of wacky laughs.”

Thewrap.com described it as “unabashedly anti-feminist” and added:

“Allison’s lack of a profession consigns the character into Eisenhower-esque irrelevance ….”

A critic for the Globe and Mail panned the movie because of its positive portrayal of motherhood:

“Through the crazy night, Allyson comes to see that she should just relax and enjoy motherhood. “I am right where I need to be and God has given me everything I need to be a mom,” she concludes after a little sermon from a heavily tattooed biker who tells her Jesus loves her as she is. In other words, Allyson will be just fine if she sticks to her conventional role.”

The New York Daily News said:

“Don’t be fooled by the title, or the “Hangover”-style trailer. “Moms’ Night Out” is really all about moms staying home, where, according to this movie, they apparently belong.”

The movie was directed and produced by Andrew and Jon Erwin. In an interview with the Christian Examiner, Andrew spoke about his surprise of the criticism:

“I didn’t expect the venom and energy behind this.

“As filmmakers, we pretty much sign up to have our work critiqued – to see it criticized or praised. That’s their choice. But I think a lot of the critics – the vast majority of them – stepped beyond critiquing the movie and started debating that the lifestyle portrayal on the screen is not relevant. It feels a little hypocritical.

“To preach tolerance and anti-bullying and to say we need to be accepting of other people, and then to attack a valid lifestyle is the definition of intolerance. That was shocking, and I think needs to be talked about.”

When Jesus warned against everyone liking you, He was not saying you should purposefully try to offend people, but don’t back down from your message. More importantly you want some people to not like you. Jesus no doubt had the pharisees and scribes at the back of His mind when He said this.

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1 Comment

  1. Linda says

    Really great to see Christian based movies again..hope to see more of the same!!!

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