Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Date Night - Movie Review


Starring Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Ray Liotta, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jimmi Simpson, Common, William Fichtner, Leighton Meester and JB Smoove.
Directed by Shawn Levy.

This movie could have been as bad as The Out-of-Towners, but it had more in common with Adventures in Babysitting for my taste, and it is really buoyed by the chemistry of its two leads. Not since Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore teamed has there been an equal partnership of funny in a married couple.

Weelll, maybe that's overstating it; I'll think on that some more, but it's clear from the outtakes that Carell & Fey brought a lot to the table of a script that serves as an excuse to lurch them from one scene to another so hijinks can ensue.

Carell & Fey are Phil & Claire Foster, a New Jersey 40-ish couple with the drab upper-middle-class careers and cute kids. They get a wake-up call when they learn their best friends (Kristen Wiig & Mark Ruffalo) are getting divorced, and they decide they're going to try spicing things up, for one night. They go to a snooty downtown Manhattan restaurant and since it's fully booked a month in advance, they take the reservation of the Tripplehorns when those two are a no-show. Unfortunately the Tripplehorns are being hunted by two corrupt cops on the payroll of a mob boss that said Tripplehorns are trying to blackmail. A few gunshots later, Phil & Claire are running for their lives. Remember those previosuly referred to hijinks? They indeed ensue.

The script is a mediocre meshing of half a dozen fish-out-of-water movies, primarily After Hours and the ones I already mentioned. Director Shawn Levy (Anger Management) doesn't really have many surprises either. (An extended car chase? Really?) Sitting down for NBC's hour of Office and 30 Rock will likely yield more clever laughs, but Carell and Fey together make a great couple, and if someone wanted to revive Nick & Nora, here you go.

Stay for the outtakes, too.

Side note: The movie gets a gag or two out of how blind Claire is without her glasses. Then she goes through the rest of the movie just fine without them. Did I miss a scene where she put in contacts?

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