DATE NIGHT - Wild Romp for Bored Couples
DATE NIGHT (comedy)
Cast: Steve Carrel, Tina Fey, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, Kristen Wiig, Ray Liotta and Shawn Levy
Director: Shawn Levy
Screenplay: Josh Klausner
Time: 88 mins
Rating: * * * (out of 4)
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL? I have always wanted to see more of 30 Rock star Tina Fey, especially on the big screen and Date Night provides a great opportunity to catch her at her 'wildest' role. Her pairing with Steve Carrell is nothing short of a casting coup and they make a flimsy plot work.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT? Claire and Phil Foster (Fey and Carell) are a typical suburban couple from New Jersey whose lives - including their weekly date nights of dinner and a movie - have become routine. To reignite their marital spark, they hire a babysitter and make an impromptu, no-reservation visit to a trendy Manhattan seafood restaurant.
Unable to get a table, they pose as the Tripplehorns - but a case of mistaken identity turns their romantic evening into a dangerous adventure involving gangsters, large scale bribery and crooked cops. In desperation, they seek help from Holbrook (Mark Wahlberg), a former real estate client of Calire's, and try to get to the bottom of the mystery of a stolen pen-drive.
HITS & MISSES: I find the plot, concocted by Josh Klausner, a little cliched and far-fetched but there is enough perilous action and easy banter to make us overlook this flaw. The one stunt that stands out is the car chase sequence along the streets of Manhattan in which Phil and Claire find their car 'stuck' to a taxi.
Of course, there is also a neat supporting cast that includes a shirtless Mark Wahlberg who has a delicious self-mocking role, Ray Liotta 'hamming' it up as a mobster; and Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig, playing a couple on the verge of divorce. Undoubtedly, it is the bubbling chemistry of Fey and Carrell that fuels this comedy, taking jibes at the boredom of suburban couples, at posh stuffy eateries and corrupt politicians (provided by William Fichtner of Prison Break fame). Indeed, not all of these subplots or gags work as intended (the scene with Carrell doing pole-dancing looks rather desperate) but the fun and funny moments offset these setbacks.
THE LOWDOWN: Recommended for bored couples who seek wild and romantic romps.