date night DI 5
2010 Running time: 88 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3
date night 1S

Synopsis

A case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening in Manhattan into something thrilling and dangerous. American comedy royalty Steve Carell and Tina Fey play the feckless hubby and wife who blag their way into restaurant by pretending to be another couple... only for the "other couple" to turn out to be on a mob hitlist. The chemistry of the leads ensure this a comedy date movie you won't want to miss.

Director

  • Shawn Levy

Cast

  • Steve Carell

  • Tina Fey

  • Mila Kunis

  • Mark Wahlberg

  • James Franco

Review

A likeable, entertaining couple struggling to recapture the spark they once had manage to remind each other that, through a series of ludicrous - occasionally naff - set pieces why they're lucky to have each other in the first place.

As much as that's the plot of Steve Carell and Tina Fey's first on-screen team-up Date Night, it's also an eerily accurate summary of both stars' relationships with the average film audience.

While they're inarguably the King and Queen of American Television Comedy (with The Office and 30 Rock respectively), their recent celluloid filmography (which ranges from 'meh' to 'ouch' - The Invention of Lying, Get Smart, Baby Mama, Evan Almighty) had us worrying that they were unable to make the jump to big screen success.

Thankfully, while Date Night has more than it's fair share of flaws, Carell and Fey's chemistry, charm and wit elevate the film into something positively watchable.

The brainchild of the master of mediocrity, director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Cheaper by the Dozen and - shudder - The Pink Panther), Date Night tells the story of Phil and Claire Foster. A conventional married couple in every way, the inevitably draining juggling act between kids, work and a romantic lovelife has prompted them to have a once-weekly 'Date Night' to ensure they spend quality time together.

In an effort to spice up even that now routine routine, Phil whisks Claire away to the big city and, in an attempt to recapture the spontaneity of their youth, blags his way into the hippest of happening restaurants by stealing someone else's reservation.

Soon the Fosters are on the run from deadly hitmen who believe they are the couple they were masquerading as. And with corrupt police and killer hitmen at every turn, they must work together if they have any hope of surviving the night or revitalising their relationship.

What starts out as a toothless True Lies rip-off does gradually reveal a snarkily biting set of teeth, and it's a testament to Fey and Carell's backgrounds in improvisation that they're able to make even the goofiest and cliched of set-pieces oddly endearing with their effortlessly relatable relationship and hilariously off-kilter one liners (a throwaway comment about farting into shoeboxes acting as a sign of things to come).

Take the headlining actors out of the equation and you'd be left with a banal, predictable and frankly boring action comedy that relies on predominately misplaced cameos (cue Mark Wahlberg) to offset its patchy plot.

With them however, it only serves to cement their reputation as Hollywood's leading actor alchemists.

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