Movie Review: Date Night
In Date Night, Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a self-proclaimed “boring married couple from New Jersey.” Their marriage is in a rut, but Carell is determined to make tonight different. So they head to Manhattan and steal another couple’s reservation at a high-class restaurant, which incites a case of Hitchcockian mistaken identity chaos. The ensuing whirlwind of slapstick comedy and outlandish cameo appearances is like a screwball version of True Romance – only minus the whole prostitution angle (well, sort of).
When things get going, there are a lot of different elements that come into play. We’ve got a bunch of interconnecting characters, chase scenes, car crashes, and confusion about who the “bad cops” are and what they want with this couple they are mistaking Carell and Fey to be. Amongst all the mayhem, the laughs are never too far behind.
In lesser hands, the material in Date Night could have fallen flat on its face and resulted in another laughless comedy but Carell and Fey are two of the most consistently funny performers in the business. They’re even more delightful as a team. You know that seemingly inevitable 15-20 minute lull in almost every comedy when the hilarity goes MIA? That never shows up in Date Night, which also manages to find time for several genuinely sweet moments in its swift 88-minute runtime.
Oh, and did I mention the great supporting appearances? The longest-running and most plot-relevant of which involves Mark Wahlberg as a shirtless playboy who really knows his way around some Avatar-esque computer technology. William Fichtner is just as great as a sleazy D.A. who carries a broom with him to his press conferences. Get it? He’s cleaning up the streets. Also in attendance are James Franco, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, Ray Liotta and Taraji P. Henson.
Things can get kind of sticky when dealing with this kid of mishmash of different genres, but the whole action/mystery/romance/comedy conundrum works a lot better here than in the recent The Bounty Hunter. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Date Night allows you to laugh without actually forcing yourself to do so. It truly has something for everyone, perhaps making Date Night the perfect “date movie.”
RIYL: Get Smart, Pineapple Express, Forces of Nature.