Tonight, make it a date night…and by that I don’t necessarily mean find a hot date, but rather go see “Date Night.” This film, opening this weekend and directed by Shawn Levy, stars comedic experts Tina Fey and Steve Carell. I enjoyed it, but was by no means blown away. The story lacks depth and is generally quite dumb, but Fey and Carell do not disappoint. Although probably an especially great choice for admirers of these two actors, the humor of this movie is not just for fans of “30 Rock” or “The Office.” It may be silly and unrealistic, but these flaws can be overlooked because the film definitely entertains.
The premise of the movie itself is clever, albeit unrealistic. A conventional, married couple, Phil and Claire Foster, decide to venture to New York City for the night for a small escape from their seemingly boring and routine life. When they are unable to make a reservation at a swanky, new restaurant, in a moment of spontaneity, they assume the identity of a couple (the Tripplehorns) that has a reservation but has yet to claim their table. While posing as this other couple, Phil and Claire are asked to step outside by two men who appear to have figured out their lie; however, these two men actually believe them to be the Tripplehorns and mistakenly hold them at gunpoint. In order to get out of this crazy situation, save their lives, and be home in time to take the kids to school, the Fosters must make their way through a crazy and hysterical night in the city.
The strength of this film definitely lies in its cast. Tina Fey and Steve Carell are, unsurprisingly, a hilarious and well-suited duo. They play off each other well, as their respective styles of humor work to make the jokes seemed unforced and natural. Delivering such laughable characters is a testament to their comedic talents because, at times, the story is incredibly ridiculous. Somehow Fey and Carell manage to shine in a story that is not terrible, but very much sub-par.
Beyond Fey and Carell, a lot of other great actors appear in the film. Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, Common, Taraji P. Henson, Leighton Meester and even James Franco make cameos to either aid or oppose the Fosters throughout the adventure (Franco, of course, being the most funny). Fey and Carell may be the masters, but there was good, humorous chemistry between most of the minor characters and the two protagonists.
There are a lot of laugh-out-loud funny parts, such as night boating, the real Tripplehorns, stripping, etc. While it does have strengths, overall don’t expect too much from the story–let’s just say it’s not very profound. I would definitely advise going anticipating an unrealistic and zany story, because that’s what it delivers. Without the witty cast, the movie would just be stupid. It is very much your typical run-from-the-bad-guys movie where the protagonists miraculously never get shot, know people who have access to just what they need, and confront mafia men, gun-wielding police and criminals. So, while I was not jumping out of my chair at the greatness of this film, at points, I was very close to rolling on the floor laughing. I’d hesitantly recommend you see it, with the disclaimer that you shouldn’t expect much. The bottom line is that Tina Fey and Steve Carell are funny; very, very funny. I was not moved by the artistry or enthralled by the plot, but I did leave the theatre in a very good mood. After laughing so much, it’s hard not to.