Posted: 04/13/2010


Date Night


by Carolyn Oakes

Carell & Fey’s Wild Night in New York City Delivers The Laughs

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Date Night is like a slice of apple pie in movie form in that it delivers what is promised, nothing more and nothing less. Tina Fey and Steve Carell have come to be known for delivering a nicely packaged comedy, and neither ever disappoint in this genre (The 40-Yearold Virgin and Baby Mama being two of the more successful comedies in recent years). In a very light and relatable story, they are each able to play off each other’s impeccable comic timing as Claire and Phil Foster, a 40-something married couple who just want to have fun on a rare night out on the town, away from the hassles of everyday life in suburbia.

What we have here is the story of a night out that goes terribly awry in the most un-realistic, yet delightfully hilarious ways. I found myself in a nearly constant state of laughter once the Foster’s night of hi-jinks begins, triggered by their posing as another couple in order to get a reservation at the implausibly exclusive and trendy dinner hotspot, Claw. Yes, Claw. Claw is the type of place where you might have to dip into your child’s college fund to get a decent sized entrée’ all while trying not to notice that Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas is seated just a table away enjoying a similarly over-priced meal. The night takes a turn for the worse when the stolen reservation happens to be for a couple being tailed by a couple of thugs who want a particular disk from the misidentified Foster’s and will stop at nothing to retrieve it.

Fantastically random celebrity cameo’s scatter amongst the wreckage of the Foster’s night out and include hilarious turns by James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, Leighton Meester, Kristen Wiig, and Mila Kunis. Wiig, playing a slightly whacked out friend who has come to accept that her marriage is really just to a very good roommate (Mark Ruffalo) encourages Claire to “walk amongst the birds.” The Foster’s do just that, whatever that means, in just under 90 minutes ( a perfect length for a simple comedy).

While both Tina Fey and Steve Carell are more than capable on-screen, and have contributed much to the genre individually over the years, Date Night is Carell’s movie. Often accused of playing a similar prototype in each of his highly successful film roles, which is up for debate, this performance is one that will remind you of some of the great comedic actors of our time. Carell has certainly marked his territory in the comedy world. He is, at times, brilliantly adept when it comes to inducing bouts of audience hysteria with something as simple as an awkward facial expression, or equally awkward response to some sort of awful predicament.

Date Night (directed by Night at the Museum’s Shawn Levy and written by Shrek’s Josh Klausner) is a typical comedy that will keep you laughing and amused throughout. Will it register as one of the best comedies in recent times? Probably not. Is it either Tina Fey’s or Steve Carell’s best work to date? Frankly, no. However, Date Night serves its’ purpose dutifully and is worth the price of admission on your next night out at the movies. And a word to the wise: on your next night out, refrain from stealing another couple’s reservation just because you’d really just love to have a meal next to Will.I.Am. It may not be worth it.

Carolyn Oakes Carolyn Oakes is a writer based on Long Island.

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