quality talents currently at the top of their creative careers
should spell a recipe for box office gold, and Date Night will garner a
lot of ticket receipts; unfortunately the necessity for follow up views
will not be so forthcoming due to the lack of word of mouth.
This is not to do a disservice to the actors, Steve Carell ('The
Office') and Tina Fey ('30 Rock') who both are given ample opportunity
to play characters apart from their bored surburbanite family by doing
silly voices and costume changes; but the script feels a bit tired and
not really thought through.
Phil and Claire Foster are happy with each other, just unhappy with
work and life, at the moment; they have a date night each week but
decide to spice it up a bit by going into New York city instead of the
usual restaurant where they play 'whats the story?' After being
denied a table by a rude maitre'd they take someone elses table which
leads to a case of mistaken identity and the hijinks follow.
There are droll cameos from Mark Wahlberg, James Franco and Mila Kunis
but they feel like they have been phoned in by all parties. The
story goes from one place to another, there are bad running gags
regarding Wahlberg's lack of a t-shirt and the rudeness of the Foster's
in taking someone elses reservation. In a social comment, the
film is quick to point out how everyone is out to screw you in one way
or another - the babysitter seeking extra income and the actual
couple who leave the Fosters stranded and did nothing other have Carell
call Franco a 'whore'.
Levy can be credited with some of the fault, which is a surprise
considering his success with slapstick action humour in 'Night of
the Museum' and its sequel. The one action sequence involving two
cars locked together should lead to some thrills and spills, however it
only serves to see how in unison the married couple really are and
involves a high-pitched taxi driver seeking to make sure you remember
his presence in this film.
Carell and Fey are better than some of this material, and anything that
involves either of them poledancing should have been expunged from the
table read at the first opportunity. They leave New York and
return home enamoured with each other again.
It is always telling that in a film you are watching at a cinema, that
is meant to be a comedy and you have to wait a good five minutes
- after the credits and after the establishment of two lead
characters - for the first big laugh, then it does not bode well.
Whereas in 'NOTM2' where an ensemble cast was expertly utilised, on
this occasion the over reliance of two stars becomes the films ball and
chain; a befitting analogy in this comedy of remarriage, which could
have been so much better and will be labelled more of a missed
opportunity rather than a failure.