CATEGORIES ReviewsIn the action-comedy Date Night, Steve Carell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, a couple who spices up their marriage by going on a date each week. When a case of mistaken identity leads to Carell and Fey on the run from gangsters, the duo engage in an increasingly outlandish series of events that involve guns, car chases and strip clubs.
Find out after the jump what we thought of it... Date Night (15)
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, William Fichtner, Taraji P Henson
Director: Shawn Levy
Running time: 88 minutes
Trailer: Watch it here
The plot: New Jersey may be America's surprisingly named Garden State, but in Hollywood it has always stood for middle-class suburbia: the place where families live instead of expensive, fashionable, crime-ridden New York. And in Manhattan, of course, New Jersey-ites are patronisingly dismissed as the "bridge-and-tunnel crowd". Truly, Jersey is the Essex of the USA. In Date Night, New Jersey married couple Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) reinvigorate their marriage with a rare trip to the Big Apple. To get a table at hip eaterie Claw, Phil opportunistically steals the reservations of no-show party "the Tripplehorns", and so begins a tale of mistaken identity that lands them in a whole heap of trouble with gangsters, dirty cops and a corrupt politician.
What's good about it? Considering the comedic talents of the lead actors, it's a surprise that the best moments arrive courtesy of the support cast. Best of all is Mark Wahlberg, a security expert to whom estate-agent Claire recalls showing houses, two or three years ago. How come she remembers him? It becomes apparent when the sexy shirtless stud opens the door, and jealous Phil's banter with him is where Date Night finally finds its comic groove. James Franco and Mila Kunis are also very funny in their one scene as the real "Tripplehorns", a pair of druggy lowlifes.
What's not so good? Action comedies invariably suffer from the problem that as the action builds in the second half, comedy takes a back seat. Date Night doesn't quite conform to that structure – in fact, a rather dull action interlude in Central Park occurs relatively early – but the film nevertheless struggles to fuse the twin elements of its formula. And the rooftop climax is weak.
Verdict: Parents of young kids will probably relate to Date Night more than any other demographic, and we give the film credit for delivering a rare Hollywood comedy squarely aimed at a 30-plus audience. Patchy, but more hit than miss.
Rating: 6 out of 10