Entries Comments

Date Night Comes Up Short Of Expectations

Date Night
Directed by Shawn Levy
Written by Josh Klausner
Fox, 2010

OK, so, right off the bat I can just go ahead and call it: Date Night will not only be a hit, but most people who watch this will find it pretty funny.  That said, this movie isn’t that funny.  When I see Tina Fey, one of the smartest comedians working today, have to deliver dialogue that she probably could have made much better, I feel a sense of loss at what could have been, much like a couple of years ago with Baby Mama.  By the way, script written by Shrek the Third’s Josh Klausner.

Director Shawn Levy has this track record: Just Married, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Pink Panther, and the two Night at the Museum movies.  In other words, a whole lot of nonsense that has made around $700 million domestically.  I’m not sure anyone really needs this guy to direct the film, but because he happened to be there with movies that were destined to be hits in the first place, I guess the studios think he’s tops.

In Date Night, a long-married couple in a rut, Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Fey) go to a hip New York restaurant without a reservation with the futile hope that they’ll be able to get in.  When a hostess (played by fanboy pinup Olivia Munn) keeps calling out the Tripplehorns, a couple who has obviously skipped out on their reservation, the Fosters decide to pose as the couple in order to get a table.  Not long after, a couple of heavies, Collins (Common) and Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson), come around thinking they are the Tripplehorns and that they’ve got a flash drive that is of interest to a gangster (Ray Liotta).

So, our fish-out-of-water couple escapes, tries to get help from Detective Arroyo (Taraji P. Henson), but finds out Collins and Armstrong are also cops.  Then they go to security expert Holbrooke (Mark Wahlberg), to find the Tripplehorns (James Franco and Mila Kunis), and mostly just try to evade getting killed in a madcap series of action/comedy events.

Fey and Carrell are so likable that the movie never gets to the point of just plain bad.  In fact, there are some pretty funny moments scattered (and I do mean scattered, far away from each other) about the movie.  Others are going to find a loud car chase really, really funny, but I got bored pretty quickly.  And the segment where Fey and Carrell have to do a pole dance for a powerful politician (William Fichtner) has all the spirit of something that is hilarious, but isn’t.  And that’s how a lot of these movies get by many times, they only have to create the mood that something is super, super funny and the audience will follow.  You get actors to yell and overact and say something like, “I need a vacation!” (which thankfully doesn’t show up here) and it’s comedy gold.

So overall, it’s average.  Too bad.

Write a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.