Last spring, we saw a preview for Mom's Night Out . The preview had a few funny clips in it, so last night we rented it.
I'll admit, I was also curious as to why K-Love kept promoting this movie. To me, it looked far too mainstream (as in, it didn't have God in it's title) to garner their endorsement.
Yet, as soon as the previews started playing, this movie's Christian connections quickly became clear. It's advertisements were only for other Christian movies, like Courageous and Heaven is For Real. The movie itself perpetuated Christian stereotypes and featured a pastor's wife as one of it's main characters.
As a youth worker, I love Jesus and I love the church. But let me tell you, this movie bothered me, for four main reasons.
1. It reinforced the Christian stereotype that women belong in the home. At one point, the main character, Allyson (played by Sarah Drew), confesses how all she ever wanted to be was a wife and mom. Now don't get me wrong. I love being a wife. And I long to be a mom. But these two things aren't all I ever wanted to be. Growing up, I dreamt of being a teacher, an architect, and a writer. Today, I love that I've found fulfillment as a youth worker and writer. My career brings me immense joy and I wholeheartedly believe that God has equipped and called me to it. I long for the day when the wider Christian community will rejoice in the gifts of all women – those who wholeheartedly believe their vocation is that of a wife and mom as well as those who sense God's call to various professions outside the home.
2. It elevated the role of “pastor's wife”. Initially in Mom's Night Out all the women want to be like Sondra, the pastor's wife (played by Patricia Heaton). She appears to be the perfect wife and mother (Thankfully, the movie does actually break down this particular stereotype – at least a little). Nevertheless, it still elevates this role. As a female youth worker, that infuriates me. Why is it that Christians are more willing to celebrate the wife of a pastor than females who are pastors?
3. It made women appear weak and foolish. At one point in the movie, Sean (played by Sean Astin) goes to the hospital with a dislocated shoulder. Upon learning his wife is in trouble, he hits his shoulder against a wall in order to pop it back into place so that he can go rescue her. Because of course, in a Christian movie, the man – the head of the household – has to be the rescuer. Just once I'd like to see a Christian movie portray a marriage relationship as a partnership. After all, there are times in which my husband rescues me... But there are also times that I rescue him. There are times that I submit to my husband, but there are also times when he submits to me.
4. The ethics portrayed in it were skewed. Mom's Night Out avoids the things Christians tend to rant about. There's no sex in it. (In a conversation between Sondra, the pastor's wife, and her daughter, it's also established that the proper dating age is 17). Never does any character drink. (In fact, it's a big deal when, at one point, Sondra is caught merely holding empty beer bottles). No one swears. Yet, Allyson's van has a bumper sticker on it that says My homeschooler can beat up your honor student. A deadbeat, no good guy is repeatedly punched and then run over by a car. Intentional or not, the message this communicates is that while it's bad for Christians to drink, have sex, or swear, it's OK for them to physically harm people as long as they're bad people. Thank goodness that's not how God operates or we'd all be in trouble.
Beyond that, Mom's Night Out was just bad. The writing was terrible, there was no real character development, and it wasn't funny – despite being billed as a comedy.
Really, this movie failed on every level.
Which is why, despite the endorsements from much of the Christian community, I'm going to name it for what it is: AWFUL.