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ON FAITH & MEDIA View Comments

Moms' Night Out

By
John Mulderig
Source: Catholic News Service


Andrea Logan White, Sarah Drew, Patricia Heaton and Sammi Hanratty star in a scene from the movie "Moms' Night Out."
Good intentions are not enough to sustain the wholesome but weak comedy "Moms' Night Out" (TriStar). Though faith filled and family-friendly, the movie—helmed by directors, and brothers, Jon and Andrew Erwin ("October Baby")—is just not very funny.

Stressed-out moms Allyson (Sarah Drew), Sondra (Patricia Heaton) and Izzy (Andrea Logan White) take a break for a night on the town. But the relaxing excursion they've planned soon turns into a series of frantic misadventures.

Partly, these are based on miscommunication with their husbands: Allyson's supportive mate Sean (Sean Astin), Izzy's easily overwhelmed hubby Marco (Robert Amaya) and Sondra's solid spouse Ray (Alex Kendrick), a Baptist minister. But they also involve Sean's sister Bridgette (Abbie Cobb) whose infant son—left in the care of her responsibility-shy ex, Joey (Harry Shum Jr.)—has gone missing.

The quest for the baby leads to a tattoo parlor where one of its artists, leather-clad biker Bones (country singer Trace Adkins), joins the mix. And, since Allyson's minivan has also inexplicably disappeared, a British-born cabbie (David Hunt) gets drawn into the chase as well.

Christian themes are prominent in "Moms' Night Out," and the quiet moments during which faith occupies center stage are more successful than the manufactured mayhem to which most of the running time is devoted. In the same serious vein, the picture also boasts a moving affirmation of the rewards of parenthood.

Though much of the humor falls flat, there are a few amusing interludes. One of these features Allyson's frustrated and flustered interaction with a spacy restaurant hostess played by Anjelah Johnson. Overall, however, there's something strained about all the would-be wackiness on display.

The film contains fleeting slapstick violence. The Catholic News Service classification is A-I—general patronage. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG—parental guidance suggested.

*****
John Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.



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Alphonsus Liguori: 
		<p>Moral theology, Vatican II said, should be more thoroughly nourished by Scripture, and show the nobility of the Christian vocation of the faithful and their obligation to bring forth fruit in charity for the life of the world. Alphonsus, declared patron of moral theologians by Pius XII in 1950, would rejoice in that statement.</p>
		<p>In his day, Alphonsus fought for the liberation of moral theology from the rigidity of Jansenism. His moral theology, which went through 60 editions in the century following him, concentrated on the practical and concrete problems of pastors and confessors. If a certain legalism and minimalism crept into moral theology, it should not be attributed to this model of moderation and gentleness.</p>
		<p>At the University of Naples he received, at the age of 16, a doctorate in both canon and civil law by acclamation, but he soon gave up the practice of law for apostolic activity. He was ordained a priest and concentrated his pastoral efforts on popular (parish) missions, hearing confessions, forming Christian groups. </p>
		<p>He founded the Redemptorist congregation in 1732. It was an association of priests and brothers living a common life, dedicated to the imitation of Christ, and working mainly in popular missions for peasants in rural areas. Almost as an omen of what was to come later, he found himself deserted, after a while, by all his original companions except one lay brother. But the congregation managed to survive and was formally approved 17 years later, though its troubles were not over. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus’ great pastoral reforms were in the pulpit and confessional—replacing the pompous oratory of the time with simplicity, and the rigorism of Jansenism with kindness. His great fame as a writer has somewhat eclipsed the fact that for 26 years he traveled up and down the Kingdom of Naples, preaching popular missions. </p>
		<p>He was made bishop (after trying to reject the honor) at 66 and at once instituted a thorough reform of his diocese. </p>
		<p>His greatest sorrow came toward the end of his life. The Redemptorists, precariously continuing after the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773, had difficulty in getting their Rule approved by the Kingdom of Naples. Alphonsus acceded to the condition that they possess no property in common, but a royal official, with the connivance of a high Redemptorist official, changed the Rule substantially. Alphonsus, old, crippled and with very bad sight, signed the document, unaware that he had been betrayed. The Redemptorists in the Papal States then put themselves under the pope, who withdrew those in Naples from the jurisdiction of Alphonsus. It was only after his death that the branches were united. </p>
		<p>At 71 he was afflicted with rheumatic pains which left incurable bending of his neck; until it was straightened a little, the pressure of his chin caused a raw wound on his chest. He suffered a final 18 months of “dark night” scruples, fears, temptations against every article of faith and every virtue, interspersed with intervals of light and relief, when ecstasies were frequent. </p>
		<p>Alphonsus is best known for his moral theology, but he also wrote well in the field of spiritual and dogmatic theology. His <i>Glories of Mary</i> is one of the great works on that subject, and his book <i>Visits to the Blessed Sacrament</i> went through 40 editions in his lifetime, greatly influencing the practice of this devotion in the Church.</p> American Catholic Blog Ultimately there is no friend who can fully understand us, who can walk with us all the way. We must go forward and walk on our own in response to who we are and who we are called to be in God. —Thomas Merton

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