“I’m gonna go home now and fart into a shoe box”
Starring two of America’s funniest comedians, Shawn Levy‘s Date Night is an action-comedy that sees The Office‘s Steve Carell and 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey finally pair up on the big screen. Can these two fulfill the great potential that is born from their cinematic union? More importantly, is the movie funny?
Phil (Carell) and Claire Foster (Fey) are a boring New Jersey married couple who have fallen into a routine that sees them doing the same things day after day: Going to work, raising their kids, going for the occasional but utterly predictable date night once a week. After learning that their friends, played by Kristen Wiig and Mark Ruffalo, are going to split up, Phil and Claire finally decide to shake things up. They attempt to dine at a hip Manhattan restaurant but are rebuffed because they didn’t make a reservation. After stealing another couple’s table, the Fosters are mistaken for two thieves who are being chased by a mobster (Ray Liotta), landing them in the wildest date night of their lives.
“Your pecs make me want to kill myself, and your girlfriend is so hot it’s like looking through a shimmering jet engine”
Unlike the vast majority of Hollywood comedies these days, this movie is targeted toward adults with a central theme that revolves around the challenges of keeping a marriage fun, interesting and healthy. Our two main characters are an ordinary suburban couple thrown into an extraordinary situation, making for a simple yet effective concept. However, the main problem that prevents this movie from being “more” is the amount of uninspired action sequences in the movie. This is certainly a bit disappointing given that having Carell and Fey on-screen is so much more engaging and entertaining than any of the car chases that director Shawn Levy could muster. Additionally, it felt like his direction somewhat handcuffed his two leads which is quite a shame when you have these impressive talents to work with.
Still, Date Night is for the most part a pleasant and engaging movie thanks in great part to Steve Carell and Tina Fey doing their best to elevate the relatively unambitious material. Although both are undoubtedly very gifted comedians who are at their best ad-libbing and making things up on the fly, they were also surprisingly effective with the more dramatic tones of their characters. Just as importantly, the two share great familiarity and romantic chemistry, making for a credible and charming couple that is easy to relate to. They are ably supported by a host of brilliant supporting turns most notably by Mark Wahlberg, James Franco and Mila Kunis who are put to good use in hilarious cameos.
Frivolous and mindless, Date Night sees Tina Fey and Steve Carell transform an uneven screenplay into a perfectly enjoyable comedy for young adults.
Notes: Rated PG-13 for sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference, 88 minutes.