On Saturday I went to a movie alone. Since I am a fan of irony, I decided to see “Date Night”. That was the main reason. The other reason I chose that movie was because I can’t help but like Tina Fey. Regardless of the reasoning, I did see the movie. Now I probably should share my thoughts.
“Date Night” was funny for the most part. Where it excelled was in the witty banter between Tina Fey and Steve Carell. The basic portrayal of these two as a couple was as spot on relatable as you are going to get in a movie. Neither is exactly smoking hot, nor are they by any means ugly. They look average and behave average. That believable dynamic is what works when they get thrust into an unbelievable situation.
The plot of the movie finds Carrell and Fey playing The Fosters, a New Jersey couple looking to spice up their mundane life. They do this by changing up their routine and heading into New York City to hit up a trendy new restaurant. They get there, but don’t have a reservation. This causes them to steal a reservation from a no show couple. As it turns out, that couple (played by James Franco and Mila Kunas) stole something a mobster finds very important. Long story short, the Fosters get mistaken for the shady couple. The rest of the movie involves the Fosters running away from danger and trying to find a way out.
It is formulaic. There is no secret that it has been done before. However, the difference with “Date Night” is that our protagonists react exactly how they should react. At no point do they get too brave or bold like countless numbers of movie characters have done before. In a sense, the Fosters do all the smart things. This doesn’t always work out for them and even causes a few cliché physical comedy bits.
You probably already assume that “Date Night” is a bunch of crap. I think it is fair to say that the movie will surprise you. There is some merit to having strong comedic actors in a movie like this. Fey and Carrell can carry even the most poorly written scene (something that Kevin James or Adam Sandler will never be able to do). I suggest you go for a matinee. It might not be worth $10 to you. A matinee or a future DVD rental should seem like a fair deal for most people.
If you do go see “Date Night”, I should tell you to look out for a few key elements of the movie that stand out and deliver. Early in the movie Steve Carrell has a great exchange with Mark Ruffalo’s character about the character Long Duck Dong from the movie “Sixteen Candles”. You would never think that would ever be discussed on screen in a movie, but it was and it was quite funny. James Franco comes out kicks some ass in his brief appearance. It seems that he may be the best young comedic star in Hollywood these days. I get the sense that he isn’t afraid to do anything for a laugh. That is a trait that can only be good for all of us in the long run. William Fichtner shows up later in the movie as a corrupt district attorney. Yeah, William Fichtner, that guy from that movie. You know, the guy who has small bit parts in like every movie ever. You’ll remember him as the astronaut that fights Bruce Willis in “Armageddon”. Anyway, Fichtner is gold in “Date Night”. He is creepy and sleazy in a way a lot of actors could only dream to be in a role like this.
I give “Date Night” three out of five stars. Fey gets five stars.