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Sunday, April 11, 2010

"Date Night" makes for a nice break from the kids.

Date Night
review by Brent Sweeting

3 out of 4 stars

Think back...Remember when you first started dating and everything was new and fresh and exciting? When time alone together was anytime you weren't at work, and not just a quick break between chores and taking care of the kids? Seem like a distant memory? How about this....Remember when you were lying in bed last Saturday and your kid was so excited to see you, that they woke you up by jumping in the air and landing right on your stomach? Remember thinking to yourself, "Are men actually born missing the part of their brain that reminds them to close drawers and cabinets after they finish using them?!?" "Date Night" is all about capturing these little moments that only mean something to the people who have experienced them. Namely folks married with children.

Tina Fey (30 Rock) and Steve Carell (The 40 Year Old Virgin) are Phil and Claire Foster. Two working parents whose weekly date night has started to feel like one more chore to fit in before going to bed. The pending divorce of a couple they are friends with stirs up doubts and some hard truths about how stale their lives have become. They decide to spice things up a bit and go out for a real night on the town. The night's first stop is a swanky restaurant that books weeks in advance. Phil pretends they are "The Tripplehorns" to steal a reservation from a couple that hasn't shown up. Phil of course has no idea that couple was stealing from a mob boss that had never seen their faces and only knew their last name? I'm sure you can see where this is going.....

"Date Night" is a wild ride that takes Phil and Claire Foster through a night they will never forget...As much as they might like to. Along the adventurous trail of mishap after mishap, "Date Night" runs through a gauntlet of cameos and surprising supporting cast. There is Mark Wahlberg (by the way, is it still acceptable to call him Marky Mark?) as the ex-client of Claire's who does government black ops and can't seem to find a single shirt to wear at any point in the movie. James Franco (Spider-Man) and Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) are the real "Tripplehorns" that live like a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde always ready to drop their seedy life and run at a moments notice (after vigorous making-out of course). Kristen Wiig (Saturday Night Live) and Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island) are the Foster's friends that have decided to split up. Ray Liotta (Goodfellas) is the local mob boss, and William Fichtner (The Dark Knight Returns) is outstanding as the ambitious district attorney.

Steve Carell and Tina Fey are both funny. The weakest parts of the movie involve scenes where they have to convey real fear or intense emotion. Steve is pretty seasoned both dramatically as well as comedically and pulls these parts of just fine. Tina as always, nails the comedy, but can't quite tap into enough real emotion when called for, especially in moments where Claire is deathly afraid. For the most part though, she does just fine.

While the movie is funny, I think it still could have been funnier considering the talent involved. It's obvious from the outtakes at the end of the film that at least a portion of "Date Night" is improv. Not a big surprise since both Tina and Steve come from improv backgrounds including Second City and Improv Olympic (now just iO). As a result of this, its hard to tell how much of the plot and dialogue is scripted, and how much is made up on the spot. Some of the writing and dialogue is very clever, and some of it is just too silly to take seriously at all. Overall "Date Night" is just great for what it is... A nice break with your significant other, and a fun evening away from the kids.


  1. Another strong review! I enjoy reading because it provides me with some very realistic expectations that allow me to not be disappointed. Date Night looks like a "Date Night" for my wife and I for sure! Keep doing what you're doin! We appreciate it.

  2. Nice review. I also enjoyed the movie. I love Tina & Steve together. They make a fantastic onscreen comedic duo. I laughed so much.

  3. I agree 100% with this :) Great review! Maybe check out my blog if you get the chance :)