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Date Night (2010)

Starring:

Common

James Franco

Jimmi Simpson

Kristen Wiig

Leighton Meester

Mark Ruffalo

Mark Wahlberg

Mila KunisMila Kunis

Steve Carell

Taraji P. Henson

Tina Fey

William Fichtner

Directed by:

Shawn Levy

Rating: 8/10

Much like a few weeks ago with “The Bounty Hunter” and Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, Steve Carrell and Tina Fey were EVERYWHERE promoting “Date Night”. Unlike the former offensively bad piece of fluff, however, “Date Night”, though formulaic in its plot and execution, is absolutely entertaining and a thoroughly enjoyable movie because it stars funny people saying funny things in funny ways—and isn’t that the way comedy is supposed to be?

Starts off, typical married couple Claire (Fey) and Phil (Carell) are fighting the battle that couples everywhere with kids and careers fight every day—they’ve lost their spark. Even their normal date nights have become boring. When they learn of the impending divorce of two of their same situation friends, however, they’re a little shaken, and decide to do it up right with a swanky night out. Their little domestic adventure goes big time, though, when they decide to swipe another couple’s reservation and end up running from a slew of gun-toting baddies who think they’ve got something they don’t. Car chases, pole dancing, and many laughs ensue.

Carell and Fey are arguably two of the best comedy minds working today, and even if you’re not fans of their shows (both “The Office” and “30 Rock”, though consistently praised, aren’t everyone’s brand of humor), their combined abilities to ad-lib AND make a written joke extra joke-y will bring you into their fan base. They’re also perfect as a couple, and even in a movie that’s more here to make us laugh, they’re able to add that little bit of extra that proves even if their coupledom is in a slump, they really are soulmates who love each other. Another major factor in the success of this simple film concept is that the two leads are surrounded by an outstanding supporting ensemble, especially James Franco and Mila Kunis as the real couple whose stolen identity starts all the shenanigans and an often-shirtless Mark Wahlberg. With all this talent, the film itself doesn’t have to necessarily re-invent the comedy, and it doesn’t, relying on a plot that’s a bit like “Move from Point A to Point B” to keep the action going. It doesn’t matter, though, because “Date Night” is a lot like one of those classically improbably screwball comedies that remind you what the genre should be—just plain funny.

It's Got: Tina Fey and Steve Carell, Shirtless Mark Wahlberg, Lots of Funny

It Needs: Lots of Extras when it comes out on DVD, To beat Clash of the Titans, To be seen by couples on date nights

Alternatives:

Adventures in Babysitting, Baby Mama, The 40-Year-Old Virgin

Summary

“Date Night” doesn’t break any new ground, it doesn’t offer any sort of existential treatise on life, and it doesn’t succumb to crude humor—it simply is funny.

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