"Moms' Night Out" is a hectic mess that does just the opposite of what it clearly set out to do: It makes motherhood seem like one of the most ill-conceived ideas since New Coke.
This would-be comedy, directed by brothers Andrew Erwin and Jon Erwin, doesn't do the institution of fatherhood — or marriage, for that matter — any favors either.
It takes a grueling half-hour for the film's three suburban moms — wildly neurotic blogger Allyson (Sarah Drew), best friend Izzy (Andrea Logan White) and pastor's wife Sondra (Patricia Heaton, who executive produced with actor-husband David Hunt) — to hit the road for a much-needed night on the town.
But following a failed attempt at fine dining and some consolation bowling, the trio ends up on a nutty, interminable search for Ally's sister-in-law's (Abbie Cobb) missing baby. So much for the gals' fun — and ours. Tattoo parlors, police stations, a plucky British cab driver (Hunt), fisticuffs, car chases and a motorcycle gang factor into the women's ridiculous pursuit, to stultifying effect.
Meanwhile, Allyson's workaholic husband (Sean Astin), his man-child bachelor bud (Kevin Downes, also a producer) and Izzy's inanely phobic spouse (Robert Amaya) do nutty, irresponsible stuff while baby sitting the smaller kids. It all strains to dovetail with the women's mayhem.
While the characters are mostly one-dimensional and the children here merely props, whiny and overwhelmed main mom Allyson proves a particularly galling, unfunny creation.
The film has a faith-based quotient, with ample spiritual references, including a nice climactic speech by a kindly biker (well played by Trace Adkins) to satisfy devout viewers. But overall messaging here, thanks to the hapless script by Andrea Nasfell and Jon Erwin, evokes the Doris Day era far more than the Twitter age.
"Moms' Night Out."
MPAA rating: PG for mild thematic elements and action.
Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes.