The long awaited and highly anticipated meeting of the two NBC juggernauts has come to pass. Tina Fey and Steve Carell were predestined to star in a comedy together sooner or later. While each could stand on their own merits, early trailers didn’t look too promising for their first outing. Even worst, directing the super-pair is Shawn Levy of Night at the Museum and Cheaper By the Dozen (gulp). Would Date Night be a special evening out or a bust?
The dynamic duo stars as Phil and Claire Foster, an ordinary suburban family with an ordinary life. Stuck in the mire of routine, the two set out for their weekly date night. In a moment of spontaneity, they steal another couple’s reservation resulting in a domino effect of mistaken identity. Phil and Claire spend the rest of the night running from the cops and the mob while trying to figure out how to set the record straight. Throughout the hijinks, there is a reoccurring theme about love and marriage which forces the couple to eventually make some changes for the better.
While I am a big fan of both these actors, I had pretty low expectations. Bringing these two together is almost too good to be true. The crossover of The Office and 30 Rock could never meet my hopes for a uber comedic nirvana. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. While not the pinnacle of either one’s career, Date Night was a fun ride. Clearly resting on the quick-witted shoulders of Carell and Fey, their chemistry is undeniable. It’s almost like they were trying to one up each other in every scene. They were able to strike the right balance of retaining their own identity without over shadowing the other. They kept it fun, simple, and fresh.
The plot is nothing special and most of the movie is typical although there are some nice cameos sprinkled within. There is an awkward car chase in the middle of the movie which was ridiculous and unnecessary. You have to be pretty forgiving of the coincidences and happenstance to make it through without rolling your eyes. Again, it helps to keep the expectations low and this movie would have been nothing without these consumate pros. Not much more to brag on here except that the themes of being in a marriage rut was done well. Anyone that has been married for over 5 years really understands the dilemma these two are in. There is some honest talk around the issue and some decent emotion to help give it weight. The ending is sweet and as a married man, I could appreciate the character arc.
Overall, Date Night is an enjoyable movie for the right audience (married with children). It’s always nice to see the idea of marriage valued and not belittled in Hollywood. It actually made me want to plan a special date with my wife- inspiring the audience for life change is always good.
If you are a fan of Carell and Fey (or Marky Mark’s abs) you should definitely see it. Enjoy it for what it is and don’t be too judgemental and you will have a good time on this date.
I give this 3 Babbles out of 5.