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Date Night (2010) ***

April 11, 2010


Written by: Josh Klausner

Produced by: Shawn Levy and Tom McNulty

Directed by: Shawn Levy

Rated PG-13 for sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference

88 min.

U.S. Release Date: April 9, 2010


NBC Thursday night all-stars Steve Carell of “The Office” and Tina Fey of “30 Rock” team up as a bored married couple in the Twentieth Century Fox comedy-action film “Date Night”.  Obviously, the hope of Twentieth Century Fox is to extract the comedic genius of these two actors and stir them up to a crescendo of hilarity.  It is obvious that Carell and Fey have natural comedic chemistry, having worked together at Chicago’s Second City comedy club many years ago, but there are many other elements to a film than simply the two leading actors working well together.  So, is “Date Night” worth the night out, or should moviegoers stay at home with “The Office” and “30 Rock” on DVR?

Phil and Claire Foster (Carell and Fey) are in the “bored” stage of their marriage.  They have two kids, they both work and they’ve fallen into their own daily mundane routines.  One night, on a whimsical decision to spice up their weekly date night, the Fosters head from Jersey to Manhattan to have a swanky night on the town.  When they get stonewalled at the hostess stand, they claim they’re someone else to steal a reserved table.  As Phil and Claire eat the overpriced seafood, two mysterious men approach the table and ask to speak to them in private.  In a discussion with the leather-clad henchmen in the alleyway, it becomes clear that the identity of the Fosters has been mistaken and these men are looking for stolen property that the couple doesn’t have.

It turns out to be the craziest night in Foster date night history, as Phil and Claire race around New York City to find the real people whose identity they stole, and dig deeper into a conspiracy that goes as far up as the NYPD and the District Attorney’s office.  While much of the second and third acts plays like an action film, “Date Night” doesn’t forget who the stars are.  Carell and Fey keep it light the whole way through with hilarious one-liners and plenty of slapstick comedy to keep the entertainment level up.  For sure, this date night will be one not easily beaten by the Fosters for years to come.

Like I said before, the chemistry between is Steve Carell and Tina Fey is definitely there.  Their comedic timing and playing off of each other is just as successful as you’d think it would be.  The two are believable as a married couple and work well together to construct the illusion of a long history together.  Being married, I thought the writing to be authentic and true to life, which brought genuine laughs.  For the most part, the film’s comedy succeeds on the most basic level: it’s funny because it’s true.

“Date Night” isn’t just a showcase for the NBC comedy titans, however.  The supporting cast in this film is key to creating the atmosphere for Fey and Carell to thrive, and in that they succeed.  Nick Kroll, James Franco, Mila Kunis, William Fichtner, Kristen Wiig and Mark Wahlberg all play small but meaningful roles that help create many of the memorable scenes from this film.

Overall, if you are married or love these two lead actors, then you’ll find great enjoyment in this film.  Granted, you’re not going to extract any philosophical insights or life-changing revelations out of “Date Night”, but you will be able to escape for an hour-and-a-half and have a good time, and that’s all the film aims for.  Fey and Carell don’t disappoint, and the cast surrounding them surprises with great success.  For a fun pairing of films about mistaken identity, go see “Date Night” and then follow it up with the latest REEL CLASSIC inductee “North By Northwest”.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. windi permalink
    April 11, 2010 7:48 pm

    I saw the preview and thought it looked pretty funny, but wasn’t sure if the preview showed all the funny stuff or not! You know how that works out sometimes! I like Steve Carroll, don’t know much about Tina Fey at all, other than she does a dead on Palin. Good to know it’s a comedy worth seeing, because they seem to be few and far between nowadays!

  2. September 21, 2010 8:02 pm

    I will say it is forgettable, but while it was going, it had me laughing my ass off! Carell and Fey are just perfect together, and although the script is not as edgy as people would have hoped, it still has its PG-13 funny moments. Great cameos too!

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