A movie can be rated PG and still not be a children’s movie.
Hey, let’s talk about cuss words for a minute!
Did you know that, depending on whose count you go by, Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street has somewhere between 506 and 569 uses of the f-word during its 180 minute running time?
Yep, someone counted. And with that many expletives, wherever the final tally ultimately falls between those two numbers, it represents a new record for f-bombs used in a non-documentary film. Artistically, I suppose it’s possible to defend such a preponderance of profanity on the grounds that it fits in with the overarching theme of unbridled excess Scorsese’s movie purports to explore. On the other hand, it could just be more proof of what Cole Porter once noted, “Good authors, too, who once knew better words, now only use four-letter words writing prose. Anything goes!”
But merited or not, there’s no denying that a sizable number of moviegoers are turned off by such a surplus of swear words, not to mention the overabundance of sexualized nudity, gratuitous bloody violence, and generally negative spiritual overtones which most often accompany them. In the past, these audiences were able to find refuge in PG rated fare, motion pictures where such subject matter was limited or missing altogether.
Unfortunately, there’s a little problem with that strategy these days; PG rated movies seem to be a dying breed. Of the hundreds of films given a theatrical release in 2013, Box Office Mojo lists a grand total of 55 which were rated PG, most of which were geared towards children. To count those PG rated movies which were made about and for adults, you could probably get away with using your fingers.
Part of the reason for that, I would venture to guess, is the success of original programming on cable television channels such as Disney, Hallmark, and ABC Family. I mean, why bother with the hassle and expense of a theatrical release when you can just lower the budgets a little and create self-owned TV-PG rated movies to fill up your station’s schedule? It makes good financial sense. However, the downside to this approach is obvious. It means the cinema has basically been all but abandoned to children, teenagers, and the R rated crowd. So when I looked to see what was coming out this weekend, I wasn’t too shocked to see the big new releases were Neighbors, the latest R-rated comedy featuring Seth Rogen (he of the increasingly tired “stoned fat guy” schtick), and Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return, the latest animated kid’s bait. But surprisingly, I noticed sandwiched in between those two offerings, Mom’s Night Out, a PG-rated film aimed squarely at folks old enough to have kids and own a house.
Mom’s Night Outtells the story of Allyson (Grey’s Anatomy’s Sarah Drew), an aspiring “mommy blogger” who can’t seem to find the energy or inspiration to write due to the demands of her harried household. With her husband Sean (LOTR’s Sean Astin) always travelling, Allyson is often left alone to care for their adorably destructive children. By the time one of her brood manages to get his head stuck in a toilet seat at the church on Mother’s Day, Allyson is feeling completely overwhelmed and miserable. So when Sean returns home to find Allyson hidden away in their closet, scarfing down candy and obsessively watching Pinterest videos of a mother eagle feeding its young, they both agree the time is long past due for Allyson to have a night out with the girls.
A few days later, joined by her best pal Izzy (Pure Flix staple Logan White), a young mother whose husband suffers from a crippling fear of small children, and Sondra (Patricia Heaton of