What's Their Story?
In Date Night, Tina Fey and Steve Carell portray a husband and wife so bored with each other they stoop to making up exciting stories about other couples while dining out in various restaurants. Then on one special “date night,” they are forced into a situation more exciting and dangerous than any tale either of them could have imagined. Although played strictly for laughs, this entertaining comedy also boasts plenty of action, thrills and suspense. Because of its amusing performances and clever story, Date Night might end up as one of my favorite movies of 2010.
Claire and Phil Foster (Fey and Carell) think they are more like “roommates” now, so they decide to spice up their relationship with a trip into Manhattan for dinner at a posh restaurant. However, they neglected to make a reservation. When another couple’s name – Tripplehorn -- is called and receives no response, Phil shouts, “That’s us!” and Claire goes along with him. This identity fraud leads to an adventure involving corrupt officials, wild car rides, blackmail and strip-club dancing.
Fey (Baby Mama) and Carell (Get Smart) make an excellent comic duo. They avoid over-the-top acting and concentrate on showing the vulnerabilities of their characters. Fey endows Claire with a wistful “what if” aura in some scenes and a funny grumpiness in others. Carell gives Steve a more low-key persona that works well in combination with Claire’s lack of focus when under extreme stress. But their best sequences come when working with Mark Wahlberg (Shooter), who shows off his buff torso in the role of Phil and Claire’s reluctant helper. In every meeting with the two, Wahlberg’s character is dazzlingly shirtless. Carell projects Steve’s jealousy perfectly, and Fey’s revealing facial expressions convince us that Claire is overwhelmed by admiration for this gorgeous guy.
I know what you’re thinking: who are the real Tripplehorns and why are they in so much trouble? Of course, I don’t want to spoil things for you, but it won’t hurt to mention that James Franco (The Great Raid) and Mila Kunis (The Book of Eli) are hilarious as this weirdly fascinating couple.
And now a word from my inner Church Lady. Unfortunately, like most movies today, Date Night needs to have its mouth washed out with soap.
(Released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and rated “PG-13” for sexual and crude comments throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference.)
For more information about Date Night, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.