For starters, let me just say that I've read a lot of other reviews out there about this movie, like these. I know it currently holds 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Critics are skewering this movie. But for some reason, actual movie goers are loving it. And I was one of them.
If you are expecting a Hangover style comedy, in which all of the moms get hammered and black out and lose all control, this isn't it. Nor, do I think, would we want it to be. Something about watching that on screen would put a lot of people off. If you are OK with looking at motherhood and family from a Christian perspective - and anyone that goes to watch this movie would know it's a faith based movie, so all of the people who went and were surprised, sorry! - it's going to be right up your alley.
Let me be very clear. I am not sure how all of my church friends might feel about me saying this, but I laughed the whole way through The Hangover. Well, I laughed the whole way through this one, too. This movie was funny. If you've ever been apart of a church, where you are the one showing up, half dressed with three out of control kids and are just so excited to drop them off in childcare to get an hour of adult time, this movie will make you laugh. If you've ever woken up to a child yelling "Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!" (which I do every morning), this movie will make you laugh. If you've ever retreated into a special part of your house and eaten an entire bag of chocolate and avoided how messy your house currently is, this movie will make you laugh. If you've ever felt like you are making up for a crazy wild past by being a prim and proper leader of your church, this movie will make you laugh. If you've ever had a really hard time with being a mom, even though you love your children, and even though you know how lucky you are, if you've ever struggled with never feeling like you are doing it right, then this movie will make you cry. If you've ever struggled with the question of why God ever chose to give you children when you feel like you have no clue what you are doing, then this movie will make you think (and cry).
As I write this review, I have a 3 year old attempting to sit in my lap, pulling at me to get her a breakfast bar and wanting me turn the channel to watch a different movie every three minutes, who woke me up by getting a toy gun from her brother's room and shooting it, non-stop for 5 minutes, with two dogs who also want my attention, who jumped up in bed on me, while my daughter somehow found one of my favorite pieces of jewelry and was swinging it around as a lasso as she entered the room. I am in my living room, staring at four stuffed animals, two pairs of my daughter's shoes, an empty Capri-sun pouch on the floor, three hair bows, and watching Tangled for the 100th time, while my husband is doing work at the church. What I'd really love to be doing is waking up at 10, then go get some breakfast, lazily taking my time at a restaurant, then coming back home and maybe watching some HGTV or something that I want to watch, or to just go where the wind takes me. I know the feeling of just wanting a few minutes to myself and feeling like the job I am doing isn't enough. This movie spoke to me in many ways and gave me a message I really needed to hear - that God didn't make a mistake when He gave me my kids and that what I do is important. Sometimes, we moms need to hear that. Whether you are a stay at home mom, a work at home mom, a full time work out of the home mom, a homeschool mom, a single mom, or any other type of mom out there - you need to hear that you are doing a really great job and that God equipped with being you for your kids - and despite feeling like you are failing, you are exactly where God wants you to be and doing what God wants you to do. Even though the job is never ending and even though you sacrifice a lot of your freedom, and body, and clothes, and career (sometimes), what you do matters. We all know that, sure. But sometimes, we need to see it. We need to see other women who are having the same feelings. We also need to see that sometimes, the scale upon which we weigh our value and success, is a scale we ourselves create and make it impossible to measure up to. As Trace Atkins (Bones) said, "You are not enough for you" when she explains that she isn't enough for everyone else.
The one thing about this movie I didn't care for what the way it dealt with the husbands and the men. My pet peeve, my biggest pet peeve, is when moms refer to dads as "babysitting." You want to get me riled up, say that. Dads aren't babysitting - they are parenting their own children. But, this movie really set the men up as doing just that. But I don't know if I was upset at the portrayal because the movie doesn't give husbands and fair shake, or if it's because the movie actually portrays what most situations would look like with the dad in charge for a night. My husband is a very capable dad - he was a single dad for a few years after his divorce, which maybe why he is so capable? - so this movie, to me, wasn't an accurate portrayal of how our house is when I get time to myself. But I have seen how difficult it can be for some women to get time alone, to leave their kids with their fathers, either because they feel guilty or because the husbands aren't supportive of the idea of them leaving. This gets into a whole other aspect of husbands and wives so I won't go into much, but I will say that this movie does touch on men's inadequacies when left alone with children, which I don't think is always accurate. Just take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the movie because it is pretty hilarious. Especially the seen towards the end with the police officer when he pulls over the minivan full of kids. I laughed hard at that part.
One other thing this movie touches on, briefly, is the pastor's wife. Patricia Heaton is the pastor's wife, and during a bowling scene, explains that this is the first time in 5 years anyone has asked her to be a part of a night out like this. Women, ask your ministry wives to your house. I am guilty of it too, but we need to remember that those women in your church who you feel like get asked to do everything, really don't. Not just ministry wives, but all kinds of women. Fellowship with each other - it's so important.
So, with all of that said, I highly recommend this movie. This is a movie I will own and will watch, anytime I am feeling exhausted and frustrated. It's encouraging, it's really funny, and it reminds me of God's plan for me as a mom.