Date Night (2010): Movie Review

It must be said that “Date Night”, in which suburban married couple – Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) – go for dinner in Manhattan and, through a series of predictably absurd twists, end up dodging thugs and crashing cars, is superior to most recent movies of its kind, the marital action comedy.

Tina Fey and Steve Carell in “Date Night.” Photo: Myles Aronowitz/20th Century Fox

It must be said that “Date Night“, in which suburban married couple – Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) – go for dinner in Manhattan and, through a series of predictably absurd twists, end up dodging thugs and crashing cars, is superior to most recent movies of its kind, the marital action comedy.

This movie doesn’t win points for originality, but is saved—for some critics, just barely—by its talented and likeable stars.

“If the stars had been—for example—Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler, it wouldn’t be worth catching even on TBS. But Carell is such the unusual film actor (he got his start on The Daily Show, after all) that he can make even the most mundane line pop. He’s also unmatched when it comes to physical comedy—i.e., the chest waxing in the 40-Year-Old Virgin. Paired with Tina Fey (a writer who also played a fake anchor on Saturday Night Live), the movie easily succeeds as mainstream popcorn entertainment,” writes Ramin Setoodeh on Newsweek.

“Every weekend all across America, couples find a babysitter and head out for a romantic evening, intent on creating “us time” amid the distinctly unromantic morass of parenting. At some point, almost everyone does it, from suburban spouses to Michelle and Barack Obama. As a concept, then, director Shawn Levy’s film Date Night is genius: not only does it validate this parents-need-playdates-too impulse, but it also gives such couples something to do on an actual date night. The movie is like cinematic happy hour for Mom and Dad. It barely needs a pulse to draw an audience,” writes Mary Pols on TIME.

The New York Times, however, was not so amused. “Date Night is superior to most recent movies of its kind, the marital action comedy. This is not saying much: better than “The Bounty Hunter” or “Did You Hear About the Morgans?” is not quite the same as ‘good,'” writes A.O Scott.

“Date Night” is rated PG-13. Sexual references, naughty words and gunshots — most of them perfectly innocuous.

Date Night Opens on Friday nationwide. Produced and directed by Shawn Levy; written by Josh Klausner; director of photography, Dean Semler; music by Christophe Beck; production designer, David Gropman; costumes by Marlene Stewart; released by 20th Century Fox.

Running time: 1 hour 28 minutes. WITH: Steve Carell (Phil Foster), Tina Fey (Claire Foster), Mark Wahlberg (Holbrooke Grant), Taraji P. Henson (Detective Arroyo), Kristen Wiig (Haley Sullivan), James Franco (Taste), Mila Kunis (Whippit), Jimmi Simpson (Armstrong) and Common (Collins). [via Newsweek, Time and NY Times]

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