"Date Night" Movie Review (2010)

4/17/2010 Posted by Admin

Movie Review

“Date Night”

Directed by Shawn Levy, written by Josh Klausner, 88 minutes, rated PG-13.

By Christopher Smith

The new Shawn Levy movie, “Date Night,” stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell as a couple sandbagged by the life they created for themselves. They’re married. They have demanding children. They have exhausting jobs. And guess what? They’re exhausted because of it.

They also have a weekly date night, which is meant to steal them away from this tedium, if only for a few hours, so they can reconnect. And yet even their date nights are rimmed with tin. Same restaurant. Same food. Same wine. Nothing special.

In part, this element of Josh Klausner’s script is what makes “Date Night” so special. At the core of this raucous comedy is a serious undercurrent of something many married couples and longtime partners are facing today--the threat of the routine and the daily grind, the pressures of paying the bills, and the loss of romance and sex that can go along with them.

When two of their friends (Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig) announce that they’re getting a divorce, Phil (Carell) and Claire (Fey) come to a realization about their own relationship--are they lovers or just really good roommates? And if they are the latter, why are they settling? Should they scrap their marriage and move on? Or should they try to fix it?

Claire tries to fix it. On date night, she puts on the glam--sexy dress, great hair and makeup, no glasses, a bounce in her step. Phil looks at her with new eyes, and he’s smart enough to understand what she’s up to--she’s trying to save the relationship. Since he wants to do the same, he also steps up to the plate. He decides they’ll leave New Jersey for a night on the town in New York City. He’ll take her to the trendy new restaurant she’s been coveting, in spite of the fact that they don’t have reservations. At first, this proves a problem. But when a couple called the Tripplehorns don’t claim their table when it’s called, Phil goes for it and states that they’re the Tripplehorns.

They get the table. The food is great. Their old spark is back. And then interrupting them are two men looking for the Tripplehorns. Thinking their being called out for stealing the table, Claire and Phil agree to leave with the men, and soon are met with guns in their faces in a back alley.

Apparently, the Tripplehorns in question stole a flash drive that contains incriminating photos that could bring down a powerful man who wants the drive back. It’s a classic case of mistaken identity, with Phil and Claire soon running for their lives through the streets of New York for the rest of the night.

The chemistry between Carell and Fey is pure fire--they feed off each other, and thus feed audiences several big laughs in the process. Echoes of “The Out of Towners” abound, while a shirtless and beautifully deadpan Mark Wahlberg as one of Claire’s former, smoldering real estate clients adds to the lunacy. Joining him there are fun supporting turns from James Franco and Mila Kunis as the real thieves--Taste and Whippit.

Everything that happens here is a stretch, but none of that matters because the movie’s point is to make you laugh, which it does. “Date Night” isn’t the funniest comedy ever, but it is solid--and it will own a piece of the comedic real estate in 2010.

Grade: B+

View the trailer for "Date Night" below. What are your thoughts of the movie?

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  1. OST said...

    I'm glad to hear it is a good film. It's so hard to predict when you put two great hilarious actors in a film how it will go. Will it be to over the top or not funny enough. I will definitely check it out!