Of course, there are times indeed where mothers desperately need a night out away from the very busy and difficult world of being a homemaker (I believe it is truly one of the most difficult jobs in the world).(2)
And as husbands are supposed to support their wives in those times (Col. 3:19; 1 Pet. 3:7), it certainly follows that they can (and should) provide such a night out for their wives at times (I'll not get into the frequency in this review). ;)
But thus begins the plot and my corresponding review of this wonderful movie....but don't worry, I won't have any SPOILERS in the review.
It seems since at the outset I mentioned three things that appeal to me personally (both just as individual taste as well as me being a Christian with Christian values), it's probably easiest if I review the movie in those three areas: engaging story, comic relief, and the exaltation of virtue.
So here goes...
The story truly was engaging. I mean, there were maybe a few slow points, as there are in many movies (even "Hollywood movies"). All in all though, the film moved at a great pace and kept my interest the entire time.
While there are several main characters, the most prominent one seems to be Allyson (played by Sarah Drew), who feels lost, for some reason, even in her perfect world of having a loving husband and wonderful children whom she gets to mother every day.
We find later on in the film why she feels this lostness; but before we get to that part, the plot really takes off when Allyson and two of her friends from church (one of them being the pastor's wife, played by Patricia Heaton), all take a Mom's night out, in which their husbands are supposed to watch the kids for a few hours.
I'm sure you can imagine some of the possibilities! :) Without giving away the details, there is mass chaos, confusion, disruptions, miscommunications, surprises, intrusions by third parties, car chases, and a whole lot more.
Although, don't anticipate that all the possibilities that can or do occur are because of the ineptness of the fathers taking care of the kids. The fathers are generally portrayed as more or less capable. The crazy stuff that does happen is more due to basically unavoidable situations and comedic timings of the evening...
To sum it up though, the story is definitely engaging.
But it's not simply engaging....
Amidst all the chaotic above mentioned elements there are more than a few funny (and sometimes very funny) quirks, laugh out loud moments, subtle plays on words, and just some really great moments where the intricacies of the stories and characters present a warm but humorous charm.
What I loved about the comic relief though was that it was clean!
No swear words, no taking the name of the Lord in vain, no raunchiness. Just good, clean humor. And yes, I realize that sometimes in certain settings those things have their place (in depicting a fallen world in certain circumstances). But for a film about a Mom's night out, they certainly weren't necessary; and so I was very thankful that they didn't appear at all.
And even with all that fun, the movie had something still more appealing to offer...
The Exaltation of Virtue
This is probably the main reason why the critics don't and won't like the film. Rather than exalting the woman's right/choice to do whatever she wants, the film exalts the Biblical role of married women being a helper to their husband (Gen. 2:18ff). This of course is not to say that women can't and shouldn't work outside the home at all. One need only be a little more versed in Scripture to know that women are given the freedom (or should we say "right"?) to work outside the home and even have a business of their own (Prv. 31:24).
However, the Biblical priority for a married woman is to be a helper to her husband and to take care of their home and children (Prv. 31:11-12, 15), as well as live in a submissive way to her husband (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-2ff). Now that's really going to strike a nerve with the world; but it truly is the Biblical role.
And that is what was exalted in this film - blatantly!
At one point (I don't know that this is really a SPOILER, so I'm going to include it), Allyson explains to her friends that her husband (played very well by Sean Astin) told her (in loving command fashion) that she needs to take it easy on Mom's night out and just enjoy herself. Allyson appeals to her husband's "command" to do that as a Biblical reason for her to try to relax and enjoy the evening with her friends.
In addition to the virtue of husbands loving their wives and serving them and wives loving their husbands and respecting them, there were many other Christian virtues that were exalted throughout the film. There are probably too many to list, but among them that I can recall are: repentance, forgiveness, compassion, reconciliation, and faith - in God's sovereignty, provision, and Son Jesus Christ.
So all that being said...
No, the critics won't like it.
But it really is a great film that portrays reality - in comedic form to be sure. But reality nonetheless comes across: in the characters, the nature of people and their reactions to life and circumstances, the power of forgiveness and reconciliation, the progressive peace of those who know the Lord, and even in the silly idiosyncrasies of everyday people.
And while it's not meant to be an evangelistic film - at least I don't think it is (3) - I still think it's well worth the watch both for those who already are in Christ and those who are not. Despite what the critics want you to think, perhaps even unbelievers will see the joy of living in a Christian marriage and family (which have their ups and downs as well), and our gracious God will use that to bring them one step closer to salvation if it's in His sovereign plan to do so.
Either way, when it comes to art and entertainment, if we are truly to think about whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, whatever is excellent or worthy of praise (Phil. 4:8), then I think this movie is deserving of such recognition.
I'm sure it's not perfect (and none of us are - save the Lord Jesus Christ). But it's certainly honoring to God, and I highly recommend it!
(1) It is for this very reason that the critics view the film as being "sexist" towards women.
(2) If you haven't yet had a chance to see this video, I recommend it:
(3) So that there are no surprises, I want to make you aware that the gospel (to my knowledge) was never explicitly stated. I didn't really expect it to be since the characters for the most part are already assumed to be in Christ and simply living the Christian life in the context of marriage and parenting. But if you're looking for an amazing evangelistic opportunity I don't think you'll find it. That's not to say, though, that you can't use this film to talk to others about the faith. But the gospel is not explicitly mentioned (at least in a blatant way) in the film itself.
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