Being as I am single at thirty (hint, hint, ladies), I may not be the best person to talk about the new Tina Fey and Steve Carell comedy Date Night. But thankfully, I do know from funny, and I do know what I like, and I can tell you that despite a lot of misgivings in the beginning, I really enjoyed this movie.
Date Night brings us the Fosters, a couple from suburban New Jersey who’ve seen better days in their marriage. The grind of day to day living has started to wear on them a bit. Children and book clubs and birthday parties and all those things that happen in a normal life leave them a little worn, and just a bit neglectful of each other. Their saving grace as a couple is their weekly “date night”, a custom of married folk (or so I hear) in which they get dressed up (for them) and go out…to the same place they usually go and order the same dishes they usually order.
But this date night is different for the Fosters, after hearing about a divorce in their circle of friends. They decide to amp it up a bit, and in doing so, set off a chain of events that starts with reservation hijacking and ends with exposing corruption on an epic scale within the New York Police Department and beyond.
Make no mistake about it, Tina Fey, former head writer for Saturday Night Live and quite possibly the show’s only saving grace post Ferrell / Kattan era, and Steve Carell, general quarters funnyman, are in top form here and put out a LOT of hilarious laughs as they portray what amounts to Mom and Dad Save New York. Yes, they’re awkward. They have no real idea of hip modern slang terms. Carell’s attempts at being a tough guy fall hilariously flat because he looks like he could be blown over by a stiff wind and coming in contact with an ACTUAL tough guy (Mark Wahlberg, playing it very straight and succeeding, nicely) causes him to shift wonderfully to the envious husband who would rather that he JUST FREAKING PUT A SHIRT ON because he feels so woefully inadequate in front of the woman he loves.
Ladies, speaking as a guy here who would probably not look very good against Mark Wahlberg either, this is EXACTLY HOW IT WORKS FOR US.
And Tina Fey, meanwhile, is also doing her level best to portray a modern harried Supermom type who would kill for an afternoon of peace and quiet but is somehow wrangled into not only dodging bullets but keeping her husband’s fragile ego in tact.
Balanced against all this is a familiar but still steadily expanding plot that wraps up a little incoherently but with more than enough personality to forgive.
Date Night is much like that which it portrays–it uses a bucketload of comedy to spice up an otherwise woefully familiar set of proceedings and instead gives us an unexpected good time. The Screenhead Ten Scale gives it a seven out of ten for not taking a whole lot of chances but for making the familiar seem a lot more bearable thanks to loads of comedy.