The heartwarming comedy "Mom's Night Out" is the latest faith-based film released this year. The movie, which is is set to release on Mother's day, is written, produced and starring Christian talent, including Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond), Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) and Sarah Drew (Grey's Anatomy).
In the film, churchgoing mom Allyson (Drew) and her friends are exhausted from motherhood, and plan a peaceful, grown-up evening of dinner and conversation - a moms' night out. But in order to enjoy adult conversation and fine dining, they ask their husbands to watch the kids for a few hours. However, hilarity ensues as everything goes wrong.
In an interview with Legatus Magazine, Drew said the film is unique in that it honors mothers without demeaning fathers.
"The stay-at-home mom is the greatest unsung hero in our culture today, and I want the stay-at-home mom to watch this movie and go, 'You know what? This is the most important job on the planet.'"
Drew says her on-screen husband (Astin) is a "rock star husband" who is always there for his family. "I think there's something wonderfully rare about this film in that you're telling stories about marriages that are healthy. You can still have drama in a movie without the husband and wife attacking each other at every turn."
Jon Erwin, writer and director of "Mom's Night Out" says his intention in creating this film was essentially to honor mothers.
"When it comes to parenting you can either laugh or cry...we want moms to identify with the movie but also be moved by its message." He continues, "This movie...lets my wife and everyone like her know that they are valuable and what they are doing is worth it."
Actress Patricia Heaton reflects Erwin's sentiment.
"Moms' Night Out honors women - in particular mothers - like no other film I've seen. It doesn't paint a glossy picture of motherhood, but it shows moms for who they are: The unsung heroes of our day who sacrifice so much to shape the next generation," she told Legatus Magazine.
Erwin, who has previously directed faith-based films including the controversial "October Baby," says that he hopes the family-friendly vibe of "Mom's Night Out" will encourage moviegoers discouraged by the lack of wholesome comedy.
"The problem with [most comedy] is that as a Christian, I would never allow...my children to watch them. The problem with the genre sometimes is that even though the films are very funny, there's a lot of offensive material that is typically rated R," Erwin stated. "So we wanted to make a clean cut comedy that is just as funny...we wanted audiences to have just as good of an experience at the theatre without feeling like they...compromised on what they believe."
Hollywood has experienced a slew of faith-based film hits this year: "God's Not Dead" achieved incredible success, currently sitting at 52 million in revenue, and Sony's "Heaven Is For Real" took in around the same amount over Easter weekend. The controversial Noah film, although not blatantly faith-based, promoted a Biblical story to interested audiences. In addition, Roma Downey's "Song of God" made nearly $60 million within just a few weeks of its February release.
Erwin says he hopes filmmakers take note of the positive reception Christian-themed movies have received this year.
"I hope that Hollywood will take notice that you can be just as funny without the F bomb. You can be just as funny without the R rating. And then, the films will be accessible to a lot more people. "