Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Date Night ***
Director: Shawn Levy
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey
Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Common
William Fichtner, Leighton Meester, Kristen Wiig
Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Ray Liotta
Hollywood often has the mind of a child; they often team up rising stars and robots or famous legends and musicals, assuming that putting together A and B will always result in a hit.
More often than not this strategy implodes all over them but when they decided to put together the two funniest people in showbiz things actually worked out in the most unexpected ways.
Tina Fey and Steve Carell star as Claire and Phil Foster, a married couple from the Jersey suburbs whose existence revolves around their house, their kids and their jobs.
Watching their attempts at rekindling their sex life-with only five hours of sleep between the forced foreplay and the time their kids jump on them to wake them- is hilarious but also bittersweet.
As funny as they make the normality of their house scenes (you never see them as something other than the Fosters) they also keep the characters grounded and the comedy sometimes gives way to deep sadness.
After they learn a couple they know is getting a divorce, both decide it's time to relight the flame for good. They decide to venture out of their comfort zone and go have dinner on a Friday night in Manhattan.
They dress up, arrive at the hippest seafood place in the city and are sent to the oblivion of the bar until a table becomes available-if ever.
Trying to impress his wife, Phil steals a reservation from a couple that never shows up, called the Tripplehorns and after their fabulously overpriced dinner is over, they are approached by two men (Common and Simpson) who ask them to walk out with them.
Thinking this has to do with the stolen reservation (and an embarrassing moment involving will.i.am) the Fosters are surprised to learn the two men are actually looking for a flash drive the Tripplehorns stole from a big mobster.
Soon they're on the run across the city trying to clear their name and preserve their lives, in the process having the most exciting night of their lives.
Anyone who says they do not know how this movie will end is lying, the plot's predictability is obvious from its title. The one thing that might surprise you is that Fey and Carell create the chemistry one would've deemed too good to be true.
He's a master at his kind of goofy, heartwarming comedy (when he's called "androgynous" by a guy in a strip club his droll stare is priceless!) while Fey's own kind of dorky sexiness serves her to deliver her OCD bitchiness with enough oomph to make her more likable than not.
Together they have no fear of being absolutely ridiculous (scenes with Henson who plays a police detective make one wonder how did the actress contain her laughter with these two around) and awkward (an often shirtless Wahlberg gets the best out of the dynamic duo).
What's so special about Date Night is the fact that despite your best knowledge of how silly and preposterous the situations might get you are always willing to invest into the main characters.
It's not like one of those movies where you laugh against your better judgment, this one doesn't care to steal a random giggle from the audience, it makes your stomach literally hurt from laughing so much.
Even when they are involved in an oh so typical dance with a pole sequence, you won't be thinking "this is so stupid" but "boy, I wish I could bring someone to see this with me".