MRR Review: "Moms' Night Out"

Photo Credit: Provident Films

Rating: PG
Length: 98 minutes
Release Date: May 9, 2014
Directed by: Andrew Erwin, Jon Erwin
Genre: Comedy

Allyson is a devoted stay-at-home mom with a loving husband and three beautiful kids. While she may seem to have it all, the one thing she hasn't had since she became a mom is a single night out with her friends and away from her motherly responsibilities. Fortunately, Allyson's husband Sean is supportive enough to realize that his wife is in desperate need of some rest and relaxation. When she uncharacteristically decides to take a night off to explore the town with her best girlfriends, Sean enthusiastically agrees to watch the kids while she goes out. Allyson decides to bring along three of her best friends, but none of them expect the craziness that ensues on a rare moms' night out.

From the very beginning Allyson's big night out doesn't go as planned. Not only does the group's reservation get cancelled, but one of the women catches her husband having his own night out without the baby he is supposed to be watching. The group of moms immediately sets out to find the missing baby, and they wind up at a police station. While they expect help finding the missing child, they have difficulty getting the police to believe their story. A wild series of events leads the moms through all sorts of unexpected trials and obstacles, not to mention a few unlikely allies.

Trace Adkins portrays Bones, a tough looking biker that the group meets while at the police station. When Bones discovers that a baby is in danger, he immediately abandons his business at the station and escorts the moms through a wild night of search and rescue across the city. Proving that you can't judge a book by its cover, Adkins delivers a surprisingly relatable and heartwarming performance as Bones. From Patricia Heaton to Robert Amaya and David Hunt, the rest of the supporting cast is equally believable, charming and compelling. Heaton is particularly worthy of note for her portrayal of Allyson's far more experienced friend. Heaton's character gives Allyson jaded advice on motherhood throughout the movie, but ends up learning a thing or two of her own along the way.

Sarah Drew does a fantastic job with the leading role of Allyson, portraying the young mom's anxieties and conflicted emotions with pitch-perfect precision. The audience is sure to fall in love with Allyson from square one, especially those who can relate to the struggle of any parent to make time for themselves while giving their kids all they can. Throughout the film, Allyson goes on a hilarious but relatable character journey, beginning as an obsessive-compulsive mother who wants nothing more than to keep her children in a protective bubble, and ending up with a much more realistic and laid-back perspective. If the events of her crazy night out teach Allyson anything, it's that she can't control everything and that learning to roll with the punches is a much more effective life strategy.

Aside from the stellar cast and sturdy performances, "Moms' Night Out" is loaded with great one-liners and great humor. This is truly a classic comedy film with a refreshingly female-focused twist. "Moms' Night Out" is "The Hangover" for parents, but the comedy is broad enough to attract and appease an even wider audience. The script features a perfect blend of slapstick moments and intelligent satire, sure to remind viewers of "Bridesmaids" and all the best situational comedy gems.

Not to be overlooked, the film's musical score lends itself perfectly to the slightly offbeat comedy. From start to finish, "Moms' Night Out" is an action-packed adventure comedy and the music played throughout the film sets the perfect mood for each scene. The overall atmosphere begins as idyllic and suburban, showcasing Allyson's world filled with soccer moms and play dates. As the story progresses, Allyson and the rest of the moms are forced to dive into the seedy underworld of their city, learning a lifetime's worth of street smarts in a single night. The transition is as hilarious as it sounds, especially considering Allyson's germophobic tendencies.

"Moms' Night Out" may be a classic parenting comedy, but it also manages to pack in plenty of action, thrills, and even a bit of romance. The writers and actors managed to avoid the common comedy pitfall of creating one-dimensional caricatures. Allyson and her crew are well-developed characters with plenty of emotional depth and comedic range, making it a pleasure to tag along on their journey. "Moms' Night Out" is truly a unique and long-overdue addition to the comedy genre, filled with intriguing characters and a zany, adventure-packed story.