The kids are back in school today, so it’s kind of fitting that today marks the DVD and Blu-Ray release of Moms’ Night Out, a film about a woman who wants to get away from the kids for a few hours and spend some time with her friends.
Then again, the woman in question has a pro-homeschooling bumper sticker on her minivan, so maybe it wouldn’t be so easy for her to get away from the kids today. Hmmm.
In any case, the film is out on home video, and it comes with a number of bonus features, including an audio commentary by the directors, some deleted scenes, and interviews with the cast, the producer and the directors.
About the film itself, I don’t really have anything to add to what I said in my review last May. Some parts work, some parts don’t, and it’s about what you’d expect from a movie about a wild and crazy night that is meant to be safe for the whole family.
(Question: Should a movie about a parent who needs grown-up time away from the kids really bill itself as a movie for the whole family?)
I did watch the film with my wife this time, and she said it was better than she expected, at least at first, though she didn’t care for some of the comic conceits, such as the father who panics at the sight of little children (including his own), or the restaurant that has a five-star rating despite being rather condescending to at least some of its customers. She did like the film apart from that, though.
Speaking of wives, one of the first bonus features on the disc is a featurette on ‘The Heart of Moms’ Night Out,’ in which the producer and the directors sit next to their wives and let their wives explain what they liked about the film.
Conspicuously absent from the bonus features is the film’s screenwriter, Andrea Gyertson Nasfell. Officially, she shares the screenwriting credit with one of the two men who directed the film. But in one of the bonus features — a video in which co-star Alex Kendrick, a real-life pastor, gives a sort of devotional pep talk to the cast and crew — Kendrick identifies Nasfell as the person who started this whole thing.
Considering that the film is about women, and that some critics have been quite critical of the gender roles embodied by its characters, you’d think the people who made this DVD might have been keen to focus on the one woman who had a significant hand in crafting the story. There’s a lot of talk about how the filmmakers wanted to “give” something to their wives, but if Nasfell really got the ball rolling in the first place, then I’d be very interested to know what motivated her.
Interestingly, there are two versions of the DVD. The regular version features the aforementioned audio commentary, deleted scenes, and interviews in which the filmmakers and the actors discuss the casting, their use of improv, and how they staged the more action-oriented sequences. It has some bloopers as well.
A second version, available only at Christian bookstores, features all of those bonus features and another half-dozen or so, including Kendrick’s devotional pep talk.
In ‘The Difference Between Moms and Dads,’ the actors try to describe what makes one kind of parent different from the other — and they don’t always agree. Robert Amaya (he plays the dad who panics at the sight of kids) says moms are more nurturing and emotional while dads are the kind of people who just put the band-aid on, while Andrea Logan White (who plays Amaya’s wife) says dads live in the moment and play with their kids while moms try to keep things organized. It’s possible to reconcile these statements, but they do tilt in different directions, I think.
The other exclusive features include short videos on three of the main actresses. We learn that Sarah Drew got the acting bug when she went to a Christian school as a kid, while White and Abbie Cobb take things in a more serious direction by discussing how they have dealt with depression and a death in the family, respectively.
There are also some ads for the film’s mom-oriented “ministry partners”.
The regular version of the disc is available from Amazon and the like as a standalone Blu-Ray or a standalone DVD, while the “Christian” version with the extra bonus features is available as a standalone DVD or as a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack.