Just in time for Mother’s Day, a new faith and family film is hitting over 1,000 theaters beginning Friday, May 9, and this time, the can’t miss, take-your-favorite-mom-to-the-movies tale … is a comedy.
Co-director Andrew Erwin, whose credits with brother Jon Erwin include the movie “October Baby,” told WND the funny script for “Mom’s Night Out” – which is brought to life by recognizable stars like Patricia Heaton (of TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond”), Sarah Drew (of TV’s “Grey’s Anatomy”), country music star Trace Adkins and actor Sean Astin (of “The Lord of the Rings”) – was just too good to pass up, even if the comedy genre is not typically the vehicle for a faith and family film.
“Jon and I were looking for our next project, and we didn’t expect it to be a comedy,” Erwin said in an exclusive interview. “Our good friend, Kevin Downes, who acts in the film but is also the producer, had come across the script and said, ‘You guys have to read this; its hysterical!’ We read it, and both Jon and I have young kids, and we thought this is so relatable, this is what we’re living, so we jumped on board to direct. Jon jumped in as a writer as well, and it grew from a small comedy to a much bigger scale than we ever imagined.
“We got a great cast,” Erwin noted, “and it came together as a laugh-out-loud family comedy.”
More than just hijinks, however (though there are plenty of those), “Mom’s Night Out” is startlingly relatable, touching in an authentic, meaningful and affirming way the heart of a mother who loves her children but is torn up inside by the stress and doubts of inadequacy that plague parenthood, and specifically, motherhood.
WND asked Erwin how the two dads directing the film did such a good job portraying the heart of a mother.
“We exhibited the rare quality most of us guys need to have,” Erwin said, “and that is to listen to women. There’s a lot of strong women involved in the making of the film, and so Jon and I and Kevin said we would be doing a great disservice to the audience if we didn’t listen and understand what makes them tick, what’s important, what’s relatable, what’s funny – and there’s relatable things for the guys from a father’s perspective, too – but we specifically needed to understand that internal monologue of a woman.
“Andrea Nasfell, the original writer, was very involved in that, as was Patricia Heaton, who plays the pastor’s wife, Sandra,” Erwin explained. “All the way through the rewrites, all the way up to the filming, Patricia helped out a lot.
“We listened to our wives as well,” Erwin said. “I was at home, and I asked Mandy, is this relatable, is this film accurate, is it offensive? She laughed and said, ‘I don’t’ want to offend you, but this is the first project you’ve done that I was really, really excited about.'”
“Mom’s Night Out” follows the misadventures of a mommy blogger whose is drowning under the pressure of family life and her own, heavy expectations. At the end of her rope, she decides to grab a couple of other girlfriends and get away for just an evening, to have a “Mom’s Night Out.”
How much can go wrong in just one night? Plenty! The moms discover their minivan missing, their cabbie caught in a high-speed chase and their greatest ally in their adventure a biker and tattoo artist with a voice of gravel but a heart of gold.
The heart evident in the movie’s first few moments, however, survives the calamity and chaos and brings a message of hope and affirmation to all the mothers who have ever felt like they were hanging on by their (chipped) fingernails.
“The point of the movie – it has a strong faith element, but it also has a strong family element – is just to encourage moms, to let them know that being a mom is important. And it’s hard,” Erwin told WND. “And I think sometimes in today’s society, in the rush of all the activity, it’s easy for that to get devalued and sometimes forgotten.
“In this age of Facebook, a lot of people are putting the best of themselves up on social media, and I think a lot of moms look at that and think they don’t measure up,” he continued. “The point of the movie is for moms to feel affirmed and appreciated in saying that none of us get it perfect, but you’re doing a great job, and I think Mothers Day weekend is the perfect opportunity to do that.
“It’s a bit of a softball pitch to the guys, in saying, ‘Hey, if you want the lady in your life to feel special, take her to the movie, have a great time, and it’s a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day weekend.”
The trailer for “Mom’s Night Out” can be seen below:
Erwin concluded his interview with WND by revealing how 2014 – dubbed by some Hollywood’s “Year of the Bible,” for all the faith and Bible-based films being released in theaters – is opening up new avenues for Christian filmmakers, including the opportunity to branch out into the genre of comedy.
“My goodness, it is the year of the faith film, but I’m proud of that,” Erwin said. “Christians are starting to engage in moviemaking in a whole new way, and the quality is getting better and better, and as a result, the audience is growing in appetite and I think it’s branching out to a wider audience as well.
“Hollywood, just like any other business is a business, and they want to make sure they’re going to be able to make a profit, and when they see that, they give more opportunity for that genre to grow.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to branch out into a new area, into comedy, and to bring some diversity to faith stories in film,” Erwin concluded. “What attracts John and I to a project is not the message first, but the story. But when we find a good story, inevitably it does become attractive to us because it elevates the worldviews we hold dear – redemption and forgiveness and love and those types of things. ‘Mom’s Night Out’ is a different story than we’ve ever told. ‘October Baby’ was an issues-driven drama that we’re proud of, but it had a totally different tone to the story. The ability to do comedy is something really exciting for the faith and family genre.”
Like all movies, however, true success in Hollywood’s eyes isn’t measured by DVD sales or Netflix views, but by how many tickets a movie sells on opening weekend. To learn where you can see “Mom’s Night Out,” visit the “Mom’s Night Out” website.