Directed by Shawn Levy
Starring Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Mark Wahlberg, Jimmi Simpson, Common
Release date: April 9, 2010 )
It seems like good comedies are increasingly hard to come by these days. Why bother with decent writing and actors with skilled comedic timing when you can just make pop culture references and poop jokes? Yes, I’m looking at you Friedberg and Seltzer.
Date Night, on the other hand, will probably be remembered as the best comedy of 2010. While the film is already be called this year’s The Hangover, I’m going to just say something that will probably bring me ridicule and debate. Date Night is better than The Hangover. Obviously comedic values are very subjective, but I personally find awkward, fish-out-of-water comedy much more entertaining than drunken wackiness. Each has their place, but I think in the long run Date Night will appeal to more people as The Hangover is more of the definitive â€œguy movie.â€
Date Night stars a powerhouse of comedic talent in Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Carell has proven himself to be a strong comedic lead with The Office and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and Fey may just be the most talented comedic writer in television today. While they don’t have much romantic chemistry between them on screen, the plot only requires that they have comedic chemistry, of which they have plenty.
Carrell and Fey star as the Fosters, a married couple from New Jersey with two kids and a very routine life. Though they obviously care for each other, they both are aware that there is little passion left in their relationship, the only highlight of which is a weekly date night, but even that is to the same restaurant every time. Motivated by learning of a friend’s pending divorce, the two decide to try and be more impulsive and adventurous. They decide to go out for a night in Manhattan and a trip to fancy restaurant. Having no reservations, things look like they are going nowhere until they pretend to be another couple and take their table. All is well until two unidentified men (Jimmi Simpson and Common) approach them, mistake them for the no-show couple, and attempt to kill them.
What follows is a mix of cat-n-mouse and mistaken identity hijinks. It sounds clichÃ©, and and in some cases it is. Though the outcomes of most of the situations the Fosters find themselves in are predictable, it’s what they do and how they do it that makes the film so enjoyable. Nobody will likely be surprised by how the story progresses, but with comedies, it’s about the journey, not the destination, right? And this journey is refreshingly free of random celebrity jokes and relies more on the dynamic performances of the two leads.
Date Night is by no means perfect, but it is very entertaining and a great date movie. There many times during the showing I saw that were difficult to hear because of all the laughing from the audience. It’s a short but fun ride that doesn’t need to be in 3D to be worth the ticket.