CARS HOMES JOBS
Film review

Squeaky-clean revelers can’t bring PG laughs

Friday, May 9, 2014
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Film review


Faith-based films have become downright commonplace this year. But faith-based comedies? Comedies that work? That’s still a very short historical list — the George Burns blockbuster “Oh God” and Andy Griffith’s “Angel in my Pocket” are the only two to come to mind.

“Moms’ Night Out” doesn’t join their ranks. A PG-rated romp that never romps, it lacks the jokes, sight gags, pacing and performances that are the stuff that laughs are made of.

A funny movie doesn’t have to leave you with a “Hangover” to give you the giggles. But when you’re sending three mothers out for an “epic” night on the town, and you’re abstaining from alcohol, profanity and jokes about sex, you’d better make sure the gags you do include are killer, and that you’ve got a cast that can land those laughs.

Sarah Drew plays Ally, a stressed-out mother of three preschool age tykes, a “Mommy blogger” who brags online about being “a clean freak” who can “actually FEEL the house getting dirty,” but whose reality doesn’t measure up to that.

‘Mom’s Night Out’

DIRECTED BY: Jon and Andrew Erwin

STARRING: Sarah Drew, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, Trace Adkins, Abbie Cobb and Logan White

RATED: PG

GRADE: C

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

Her house is a wreck, her husband (Sean Astin) is always traveling and the kids are barely under control. And every so often, she loses it.

She’s unhappy, so her husband urges her to take a night for herself. She talks her mother-of-two pal Izzy (Logan White) and, oddly, that icon of motherly virtue, her pastor’s wife (Patricia Heaton), into a girl’s night out “to remember.”

Izzy’s simpering, helpless husband (Robert Amaya) is lost without her calling the shots. Ally’s husband has a regular Saturday night video game date with an irresponsible, kid-hating pal (Kevin Downes, amusing). And Sondra, the preacher’s wife, is fending off a full-fledged revolt by her rebellious teenage daughter (Sammi Hanratty), who is threatening to sneak out while mom’s away.

This could get interesting — “Adventures in Babysitting” interesting. Except it doesn’t.

As the night runs from losing their reservation at a pretentious restaurant to losing their phones to losing their minivan to losing a baby and their husbands losing their minds, overwhelmed by simple child care, “Mom’s Night Out” sets itself up for laughs that it rarely delivers.

For 45 minutes, the writing/directing Erwin brothers can’t manage so much as a smile.

Then we hit the tattoo parlor and “Moms’ Night Out” starts to find its funny bone. Christian singer Manwell Reyes is hilarious as a goofball receptionist and country singer Trace Adkins kills as a brassy, no-nonsense biker-tattoo artist named Bones.

 
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