When a group of dads, led by Sean Astin, are left in charge of their kids, while their wives enjoy a Moms’ Night Out, things can get a little out of hand. But inside this comical look at the beautiful chaos that is parenthood, a different message emerges than the typical “dads as buffoons” slapstick comedy. Moms are important. Moms are enough. So are Dads.
“I’m proud of the fact that dads aren’t buffoons in it, and yet at the same time, we mind the comedy of what happens,” Sean Astin recently told HuffPost Live. The Goonies and Lord of the Rings actor has been married for 22 years and the Astins have three beautiful daughters. But “if I get put in charge of the kids for the night, it’s noticeable!” Often mothers and the children have a routine or rhythm, and it’s just different when someone else is in charge. Astin says there can be a bit of a culture shock.
“Parenthood is like the journey to Mt. Doom,” according to Sean Astin, in an interview with Lucas Ross of KFOR. Through the journey, parents find that life can be crazy, frustrating, frightening, and yet rewarding and wonderful, all at the same time. What needs to happen, says Sean, is that “you throw a feeling of self-doubt into [Mt. Doom],” a metaphor that Astin’s Lord of the Rings fans are sure to understand.
Taking the metaphor a bit further, Samwise Gamgee, the endearing hobbit played by Sean Astin, and Frodo embark on an epic journey, and no matter what happens, Sam faithfully supports his companion through all the challenges that face them, loyal to the end. Self-doubt has to go as they support each other through the journey. Sean Astin tells NBC,
“I try to be supportive as a husband and a father, but this role was really about what that can look like when it’s done properly. You’re not an expert at anything; you don’t always know what to do…. A lot of men, they know that the right thing to do is be supportive of their spouse, and then their spouse goes through their own journey.”
Allyson, played by Sarah Drew, is a character that many mothers will readily identify with. Sarah herself broke down in tears after reading the script because it echoes reality as the mother of a small child so clearly. Allyson struggles with not feeling like she is enough in the overwhelming day-to-day life of being a stay-at-home mom with three small children. There is “great content out there for other moms” in the movie, according to Beth Erwin, wife of director Jonathan Erwin.
Astin’s character, Sean, is “not a bumbling dad.” Sean, the character, “is a very thoughtful caring dad who wants to be supportive of his wife, and she’s not that happy.” Sean tells HuffPost that “there’s something inside that she’s unsettled about, and he as her husband is trying to figure out how to help her.” He recognizes that she needs some time for herself and suggests a Moms’ Night Out.
Sean Astin recognizes the crucial role that dads can have, not only in their children’s lives, but also in the lives of their significant other. Co-director Andrew Erwin says that Astin was their first pick for the role he plays in Moms’ Night Out. Not only is there wholesome, family-friendly comedy in the film. There is a whole lot of love and joy, too. Sean Astin brings that vividly to the screen.
Sean melted my heart with this comment:
“We basically made this movie as a love letter for mothers.”
That love letter is now in theaters Mother’s Day Weekend, and it’s not just a mom-com. Sarah Drew makes her feature-film debut. Patricia Heaton and Trace Atkins also star in Moms’ Night Out. Sean Astin brings his lovable, faithful persona to his role as an amazing husband and dad. And I will get to watch Sean in action just a couple of hours from now at the Red Carpet Premier event in Alabaster, Alabama, home of directors, the Erwin Brothers!
[images via Moms’ Night Out]