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Overall Rating
3.54

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look69.23%
Average: 20.51%
Pretty Bad: 5.13%
Total Crap: 5.13%

5 reviews, 9 user ratings



Date Night
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by William Goss

"The Marrieds Take Manhattan"
4 stars

Few would deny that Gene Wilder and Richard Pryor made for a potent comedic duo in their time, but would one actually classify 'Silver Streak,' 'Stir Crazy' and 'See No Evil, Hear No Evil' are genuine comedy classics? They’re at best amusing movies, with – in the particular case of 'Streak' – some great moments. While I’m not saying that Tina Fey and Steve Carell are the next Wilder and Pryor, 'Date Night' is one of those solidly amusing, stop-channel-surfing modest wonders that shouldn’t get short shrift for being derivative, disposable entertainment when derivative, disposable entertainments rarely try this hard anymore.

Fey and Carell play Claire and Phil Foster, a pair of comfortably numb New Jersey suburbanites who decide to change up their date-night routine once their best friends admit that their own marriage is on the outs (“We’re more like really excellent roommates,” admits the first of many cameos). When the Fosters fail to nab a table at New York’s trendiest seafood joint, they decide to pose as the no-show Tripplehorns and take their reservation. As fate would have it, the Tripplehorns are in some deep trouble with some corrupt cops, and the Fosters find themselves on the lam as they try to save both their marriage and their asses.

It’s the mistaken-identity hook of North by Northwest by way of the long-night-in-the-big-city shenanigans of Adventures in Babysitting and The Out-of-Towners, putting it in about the same action-comedy ball park as the above-mentioned Wilder/Pryor fare, but when even Claire herself can’t keep up with the plot, that only proves just how little it matters. What registers most is that this 88-minute film hurtles itself forward from laugh to laugh at a pace that would seem slapdash for a comedy that didn’t work this well and with a tone that’s sly even at its silliest. The selection of the local book club being in the vein of "The Kite Runner" and any other adversity-equals-quality read, the terrifically direct logic behind the Tripplehorn alias, the way that they answer the phone at the snooty seafood joint (“Claw, you’re welcome.”), the indignation that the Fosters face every time they fess up to stealing someone’s dinner reservation, the critical placement of the film’s one allotted f-word, that broom – all of the giggles add up. And when our heroes find themselves in the middle of a highly improbable car chase (a car lent to them by Mark Wahlberg’s relentlessly shirtless security consultant finds itself wedged with a taxi cab and tearing across Manhattan), it at least makes sense that the taxi driver would be able to advance the plot by owning a Kindle; even if the device couldn’t actually do what it needs to, who wouldn’t get the most use out of one than someone with as much down time as a cabbie?

Let’s not forget the stars of the show now. While director Shawn Levy has a track record as Fox’s go-to guy for absolute adequacy (at best), even he can’t defeat the chemistry that his stars bring to the table this time. The film reeks of their improv trumping Josh Klausner’s otherwise formulaic script, with Dean Zimmerman and Levy cutting their riffs down judiciously, while bits that shouldn’t work on the page (“Will you accept collect call charges from THIS PHONE SMELLS LIKE URINE!?”) come to life with their perfectly panicked delivery. Fey and Carell even nail the frustrations, worries and desires that can cause a long-term relationship to stagnate or worse, and they ground the film’s broader antics within its requisite pockets of sentiment.

As a result, 'Date Night' is certainly better than respective star bids 'Get Smart' and 'Baby Mama,' and with any luck, they’ll do better work together yet. For now, though, we’ll just have to make do with a comedy that’s actually goofy without being entirely mindless, that rarely wastes a moment when it can either set up or pay off a running gag, and that actually treats its main couple like real people with fears and flaws. I mean, hell, when’s the last date flick that left you wondering whatever happened with the babysitter?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=19420&reviewer=409
originally posted: 04/10/10 04:38:43
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User Comments

3/07/11 Luisa Hilarious!! 4 stars
2/28/11 Sabaka Good if you need something to put you to sleep. 2 stars
2/27/11 millersxing After big laughs and big cameos, were you expecting Jeanne Tripplehorn? 4 stars
12/05/10 DUKE7734 LAME...I dont get the appeal of FEY and CARELL?? 2 stars
8/26/10 art THUMB"S DOWN to this JUNK! 1 stars
5/29/10 Melissa Cute movie for a date night. Enjoyed it. 4 stars
4/26/10 art SUCK"S! 1 stars
4/17/10 PAUL SHORTT COMPETENT, ENGAGING COMEDY WITH CHARISMATIC PERFORMANCES 3 stars
4/14/10 jethro Olivia Munn? here's to rob learning the difference between comedy and scripted lameness. 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  09-Apr-2010 (PG-13)
  DVD: 10-Aug-2010

UK
  21-Apr-2010 (15)

Australia
  08-Apr-2010 (M)
  DVD: 10-Aug-2010




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