by Elaine Hegwood Bowen
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Date Night is such a funny movie with two comedic actors Tina Fey and Steve Carell as the Foster couple who desperately need a night out on the town. Their marital and parenthood duties have become rote; they even have it figured out that “short sex” would suffice in a rush, if they are just too pooped to really get involved.
As they both go through their professional days, he’s a financial analyst, and Claire is a Realtor, Phil realizes that the spark might not exactly be there, as it once was, and he figures a night on the town at a fancy restaurant named Claw in New York City’s Manhattan is the ticket for the sleepy suburban New Jersey couple.
Once they arrive in Manhattan, a bit too late for a dinner reservation, they are treated pretty poorly by the guy at the front door. So, as they are waiting at the bar for a possible table, the Tripplehorns are called three or four times, and Phil decides to pretend that he and his wife are the “no-shows.” Bad mistake, bad, bad mistake!
Before they can finish their dinner, after acting silly and taking a picture with Will.i.am, Common who plays Det. Collins and his partner, Armstrong, who are both cops on the take, working for a gangster named Miletto played by Ray Liotta, come and demand that they leave the restaurant. Once outside, the Fosters try to explain that they are not the Tripplehorns, the couple for whom Det. Collins and Armstrong have been ordered to hunt down for a flash drive filled with illegal data and compromising photos of a District Attorney. But they aren’t believable, and this sets off a bumpy night, as the Fosters try to figure out how to get the flash drive, determine just what’s on it and just how much trouble they have gotten themselves into by taking someone else’s reservation. That also seems to be the theme throughout the movie that the Fosters had the audacity to take another couple’s reservation. As they tell their story, character after character is amazed that they would actually steal another couple’s dinner reservation.
Taraji Henson plays the top cop who finally figures out that Det. Collins and Armstrong are on the take and are at the root of this craziness.Throughout the night, the Fosters go to visit a nicely buffed Mark Wahlberg, who was once a client of Claire’s. He’s an intelligence expert and can help them track down the true Tripplehorns. During this visit, Phil sees his wife sparkle in such a way that makes him jealous. They end up paddling in the East River as well as forcing their way into an exotic club with Claire pretending to be a dancer and Phil agreeing that he’s her pimp. The car chase that has the Fosters in Wahlberg’s custom Audi is hilarious, as they become hooked up with a cabbie, when they go the wrong way down a one-way street.
In the end, they are saved, right at the bell, finally finish their date off about 5 a.m. back in New Jersey, and their marriage is stronger than ever because of it. Funny movie at theaters now.
Elaine Hegwood Bowen is an editor, writer and film critic in Chicago.
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