There’s no doubt about it; Patricia Heaton is one of the funniest people on this planet. Having played the matriarch on wildly popular sitcoms like EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and THE MIDDLE, she returns to the motherly milieu with MOMS’ NIGHT OUT playing the kind of mom we rarely see on the silver screen – a preacher’s wife who’s struggling to maintain perfection. When two of her congregation’s younger mothers (played by Sarah Drew and Andrea Logan White) invite her to a Mom’s Night Out, she jumps at the chance to have a good time. And boy does their night go off the rails – in the best ways possible. Let the wholesome debauchery begin!
At the film’s press day, we caught up with the funny lady to talk about everything from on-set anecdotes about the MomCom, to the rise of the homemaker lifestyle and the pressures it brings, to the film’s resonant message.
SassyMamaInLA: Since you’ve played some pretty famous TV moms, do people approach you on the street seeking advice?
Most people come and say, ‘I’m like Deborah.’ Or ‘I’m like Frankie.’ Or ‘My husband is Raymond.’ Or ‘My mother-in-law is Marie.’ I think it’s the sign of that when you’re reflecting back to people; there are these universal truths about families. They are universal because RAYMOND is all over the world and is being reproduced in people’s own languages with their own culture, but with the exact same scripts.
SassyMamaInLA: Yes! Did you see the documentary on trying to get the Russian version greenlit?
I’ve seen it a number of times. It was amazing. Very exciting.
SassyMamaInLA: How was it working with Trace Adkins? You two have some fantastic repartee.
He was such an amazing guy. When I heard he was attached to the film, I thought, ‘That’s good marketing.’ He brings a whole group that we might not get – and he’s a huge star – and he’ll be great. Most of these country guys are really good at doing these kinds of roles. I wasn’t prepared for a. how intimidated I was when I met him because he’s very tall. He’s very quiet and he’s got that deep voice. And it’s just sorta powerful. He’s also such a sweetheart of a guy and so talented. He delivered that monologue that he has in the jail first take/ one take.
SassyMamaInLA: You are kidding me!
No. No rehearsal. Such a beautiful scene that makes me cry every time.
SassyMamaInLA: You filmed in an actual police station and I heard someone was arrested during filming. Give me the deets.
Yeah. They kind of kept the guy away from us. It was interesting to see someone who was in handcuffs. It’s one thing to have a scene in the movie, but when you see somebody’s real life and see how not glamorous it is – not funny, not glamorous. You just wonder what people had to go through that gets them into those situations. You feel blessed that you grew up in the family you had – no matter how imperfect – and that that kind of thing would never be an option.
SassyMamaInLA: You were in a pretty spectacular stunt sequence. Did your husband [who plays the moms’ cabbie for the evening] have to go to stunt driving school?
Our car was attached to another car with a camera on it. So we were just sitting there as we were being dragged around.
SassyMamaInLA: Was that at all disappointing?
It was really fun. You really feel like you are in the movies when you have a city street all to yourself at night and there’s cameras following you and sirens and motorcycles. It’s fun.
SassyMamaInLA: What I loved about this movie is that it supports and empowers mothers rather than being judgmental – because there is a lot of judgment out there between moms. What did this film mean to you as a mother?
Right. I started having my kids in the sort of Martha Stewart era – when she came onto the scene. And she set a whole new standard of homemaking.
SassyMamaInLA: She’s great but it’s almost impossible.
She made it cool to be a homemaker – there’s an art to it. There’s a beauty to it. It’s important that you are creating an environment for your family and it can be lovely. But, yeah, you’re right. People felt, ‘Oh my god! Everything has to be labeled and be pale greens and blues. I should have chickens in my backyard.’ So it is a pretty high standard. I, of course, could never keep that up. I had somebody I could pay to do it for me. So I have gotten to a certain level of organization in my life that’s not natural to me, but I learned it. You kind of have to have someone help you get things in place sometimes. There’s a lot of media out there that presents (maybe with Gwyneth Paltrow’s GOOP – she would almost be like the new Martha Stewart) who’ve set a standard that’s really lovely, but hard. I think women are pretty hard on themselves generally about anything and then when you add kids into the mix – because it’s really hard to do it well. To compare your kids to other people’s kids, what schools they get into, accomplishments, Tiger moms. Yeah, you’re right! There’s so much to celebrate just the fact you’ve taken on the responsibility of another human being. That’s something that always used to hit me. I’d get a wave of it when I first started having kids. [mimics a panic attack]. ‘I can barely take care of myself. I’m responsible for these four people?! I’m not qualified.’ None of us feel qualified – and we really aren’t. What I think is so great about the movie is Trace gives that beautiful speech where he says, ‘I don’t think God made a mistake when he made you those kids’ mom. He knew what He was doing so you just keep doing what you’re doing and He’ll do the rest.’ I think that’s the big message of the movie.
SassyMamaInLA: Right. Another thing I loved was Sarah Drew’s speech about being a beautiful mess. That’s such a genuinely honest thing to say.
Yes! Sarah Drew is such a fine, fine actress. It takes somebody like her with the sensitivity, empathy, skill and talent to portray a mom who seemingly has everything – a beautiful home, kids and husband – to say, ‘I’ve gotten all I’ve ever wanted and I’m not happy.’
SassyMamaInLA: It’s brave!
It’s brave. But you need the right actress to carry it off so people won’t hate her. They do a good job of establishing what she’s going through before she ever says that line so you understand what’s happening to her.
SassyMamaInLA: Can we also talk about the hero shot of you ladies walking into dinner? I laughed so hard – all the tiny nuances and physical comedy.
Yes! That was so fun to do. I know on the gag reel, we have all these big crew guys with beards doing the same walk down the street.
SassyMamaInLA: What a great film to be a part of!
We’re really excited. You know, you go into these things and you don’t know how they’re gonna turn out and you’re thinking, ‘Is it going to work? Is it not going to work?’ And now, I’m feeling so happy the way it’s turned out. I think it’s going to reach a lot of people.
MOMS’ NIGHT OUT opens nationwide on May 9 and is rated PG.
Courtney Howard is the Senior Editor/ LA Correspondent for VeryAware.com. She also is a contributing writer for ReelVixen.com and ThatsItMommy.com. She resides in Southern California with her husband and perfect little dachshund.