05 May 2010

Date Night (2010)

Tina Fey and Steve Carell are such an obvious comedic pairing it's almost a shame that this is their debut. Almost. The two of them are good enough comedians to be able to elevate this rather average mistaken-identity action-comedy beyond simply "watchable" to "amusing."

Date Night takes average people out of the suburbs and drops them into the middle of an unlikely evening of excitement in the big city -- think of After Hours, Adventures in Babysitting, even Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. The mistaken identity plot line isn't particularly fresh either -- think of North By Northwest, The Big Lebowski, and countless others -- but Fey and Carell have a genuine screen chemistry and make the most of a thin script.

All they want is a nice dinner in Manhattan; what they get is a not-quite-madcap dash throughout New York City, complete with gunfire and car-chases. Unlike couples in so many romantic comedies the Fosters are happily married and, while they might be in a rut, they seem to genuinely enjoy each other's company and support each other. They work together to get out of the mess they are in -- from finding unlikely help in Manhattan to the saw-it-coming-down-Main-street showdown at the climax.

Date Night is not a long movie. Clocking in at only 88 minutes, the movie doesn't have too much time to drag. Throughout, there are plenty of laughs that run the spectrum from knee-slapping guffaws to uncomfortable chuckles and while most are care of lines delivered by Fey and Carell, other actors get to shine, too. I doubt that Date Night will find a place in the rom-com cannon but it's a decent date flick, worth the admission price.

If you go, be sure to stay through the credits; two of my biggest laughs were at the out-takes.


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