Notable Actors: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Common, Jimmi Simpson, James Franco, Mila Kunis, William Fichtner
Review: Let me preface this review by saying first thing, I love Tina Fey. I’m a huge “30 Rock” fan and she was the only thing that kept me interested in SNL until she left. Carell is also an amazing comedic actor in his own right, so when I first saw the trailer for Date Night which paired the two, I was immediately sold. I didn’t even have to know that the likes of Marky Mark, Franco, and Kunis would also make an appearance in the movie. And yet Date Night still had even more casting surprises that I left out so I didn’t spoil them. Don’t let the movie title fool you either, because this isn’t a romantic comedy in the way The Bounty Hunter calls itself a romantic comedy. The latter tries way too hard to emphasize the romantic aspect, while Date Night is a laugh riot movie which has actors that know how to pull off tremendous comedic performances and keep the plot moving while not trying to bog you down with the “love story” that honestly takes a back seat to the comedy itself. I promise you won’t need a date to see this movie, because anyone will find it funny.
The story revolves around Phil and Claire Foster (Carell and Fey), who are your typical boring married couple, tied down to a day-to-day routine including their sacred “date night” which has even become the same thing over and over again. So one night, Phil decides that they need to spice things up a little bit. He tells Claire they are going into the city to try a new seafood restaurant she had mentioned and that if they got there early enough, they could get a table. On a Friday night. In the city. Yea OK. So of course they get there and the place is mobbed. While waiting at the bar for any type of opening, the hostess calls for “Tripplehorn, party of 2.” Determined to break the cycle, Phil waits for her to call a few times, and when there is no response, takes the opening. The next thing Phil and Claire know, they are surrounded by hipsters and celebrities having the “date night” of their lives. That is until two hit men (Simpson and Common) show up at the table looking for the Tripplehorns and demand they come outside, and inform them that local crime boss Joe Miletto wants the flash drive back that has been stolen from him. After a daring escape, the Fosters realize they just may be in a little over their heads and must turn to anyone they can think of to get out of the situation a simple reservation snatch got them into. It’s fair to say the Foster’s were headed for a “date night” they were never going to forget.
The comedy here was expected because of the style both Carell and Fey use; a very deadpan and subtle, innocent, dry, and even confused delivery; but the execution was perfect. This is honestly a comedic due made in heaven. A team having chemistry is one thing, but these two act so alike that they honestly mesh together better than an acting couple actually married being in the same movie (Mr. and Mrs. Smith anyone?). How these two aren’t soul mates is beyond me. They fed off each others lines with such ease I can only imagine how much fun the improvising on lines was, which we got a taste of during the credits of the film. And not to mention how perfectly they fit their roles, falling into the everyday Joe-schmo role with ease. They hit the nail on the head with how so many people feel in their situation, and when they had one of the more serious moments in the movie you could really connect with the conversation. These were just two people who got too caught up in their lives to take time for themselves, which sadly happens to too many people now a days. Maybe everyone should think about getting involved in a mob related crime to shake the norm every now and then because of how well it worked for the Fosters. Just kidding. Date Night was a movie. I’d highly suggest finding another release, maybe one with a few less hit men and law breaking.
The supporting performances are also worth mentioning, because you won’t even be expecting half of them. I personally loved J.B. Smoove as the cab driver that Carell interlocks his car with. (Some of you may know him as Leon from “Curb Your Enthusiasm”?) Something about his reaction to the situation had me dying the whole time, along with this shrieking yell of surprise. Franco and Kunis are crazy of course, Wahlberg serves more as eye candy than a character (well except for the whole helping them any way he can), and Fichtner plays a crazy DA who is just as busy behind the scenes as he is on the job. But they all have one thing in common; they are hilarious. Except for Marky Mark. The jokes that he instigates are way funnier than his character, but hey, they still couldn’t have been possible without him.
If you’ve seen anything starring Fey or Carell, then you know the kind of comedy to expect. But don’t interpret that in a bad was like “you’ll have heard every joke in the movie.” More in a way that “if you love these guys, this movie is right up your alley.” A very funny movie overall, being much more of a strong comedy with something for everyone than a romantic comedy. And if you’re as big a fan of Tina Fey as I am, the scene in Miletto’s club where she goes undercover as an exotic dancer will be enough to sell you on the film right there. And then she does a pole dance with Steve Carell at the same time and you realize just how genius the two are together. My god I think I was crying during that scene. Go see this movie for a good time and a superior example of a romantic comedy. C’mon, would you seriously rather see the other romantic comedy out, The Bounty Hunter, which I graced with a 2/10? You really have to try to score that low. Date Night for the win!
Final Rating: 7 shirtless Marky Marks out of 10