DATE NIGHT


Dir. Shawn Levy. USA. 2010.


Talking Pictures alias talkingpix.co.uk
 
 


 
 

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Emai

Combining two 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.
Jamie Garwood

 
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