Pin It
Favorite

Comic Romp 

All it takes to enliven a dull marriage is a case of mistaken identity

click to enlarge art14924.jpg

Call me a major snob, but when I saw that Date Night stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell had been on Oprah this week, I immediately lowered my already low expectations for the Shawn Levy-directed flick (Pink Panther, both Night at the Museums).

But Date Night isn’t the lukewarm, cookie-cutter rom-com I expected. A hybrid between a romantic comedy and a buddy-cop movie, it’s surprisingly enjoyable and funny.

A bit predictable, sure — and many have complained that the big car-chase scene is a little too 1980s — but Date Night has moments of real hilarity and even a little bit of emotional honesty. And the car chase? I’d say it’s retro in a good way.

Date Night follows somewhat bored and boring married couple Claire and Phil Foster through a date-night-turned-disaster after they’re mistaken for a pair of petty criminals in over their heads.

The film is best when the Levy lets the actors drive the scene. Fey and Carell have a natural comedic chemistry — maybe it’s their similarly awkward delivery styles — that lights up the screen when they’re playing it up for laughs. Watching some of the outtakes during the credits, you get the impression that Date Night could have been even funnier if Fey and Carell had created all of their own dialogue.

Likewise, many of the movie’s laugh-out-loud moments occur when other actors, doing what they do best, play off of Fey and Carell’s awkward Fosters.

In one memorable scene, James Franco and Mila Kunis portray “Taste” and “Whippit” — the couple the Foster have been mistaken for. Franco plays that sort-of dumb, angry douchebag he does so often on funnyordie.com, and Kunis plays along, serving as a hilarious foil for the Fosters.

Taste upbraids Whippit for not wanting to have sex with him after working a night at the strip club, while she criticizes his thievery, then Taste bemoans her lack of trust.

It’s just a few moments after Claire and Phil have an argument that follows the same trajectory — except that their fight is about chores.

Date Night is far from perfect, but it’s still a great date movie. Fey and Carell’s comedic teamwork keeps the movie rolling, and Claire and Phil’s teamwork — through all of their trials — makes the Fosters worth caring about. Screenwriter Josh Klausner described Date Night as a “love letter to marriage” in the New York Times — and, in that respect, it succeeds. 

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Film

  • Closing the Book
  • Closing the Book

    Peter Jackson bids farewell to his hobbits with one last, great movie
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • The One Who Knocks
  • The One Who Knocks

    Why an Australian indie called The Babadook became one of 2014's creepiest films
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Let My People Go Big
  • Let My People Go Big

    Exodus: Gods and Kings fails when it tries to humanize its spectacle
    • Dec 10, 2014
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun
1914 Christmas Truce Carillon Concert

1914 Christmas Truce Carillon Concert @ St. John's Cathedral

Wed., Dec. 24

All of today's events | Staff Picks

or

More by Carey Jackson

  • Arts Happenings in September
  • Arts Happenings in September

    Gods of war and Eva Peron meet anti-messianic punks to get Bavarian with Buddy Holly.
    • Sep 14, 2010
  • Arts Happenings in October
  • Arts Happenings in October

    Sharks and Jets knife-fight over contemporary ceramics and Bugs Bunny.
    • Sep 14, 2010
  • Arts Happenings in November
  • Arts Happenings in November

    The wolves of North Idaho meet tiny Texan techno nerds and a woman who found 19 types of gazelle.
    • Sep 14, 2010
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Fresh Spin

    A local record shop is reincarnated under a new owner, giving this generation a taste of vinyl
    • Nov 25, 2014
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Film


Review


© 2014 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation