Date Night (2010)
Dir: Shawn Levy
Steve Carell and Tina Fey should work together more often methinks!
Phil and Claire Foster (Carell and Fey) are a married working couple with kids, but have the routine of a ‘date night’ together once a week regardless of tiredness or inclination, with the kids babysat by a neighbour (Gossip Girl’s Leighton Meester) they go for dinner together in the same restaurant and order the same things before going home to bed. Somewhat stirred by the revelation that their friends (Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig) are spitting up they decide to chcnge things a little one date night, dressing up, and going into Manhattan for an expensive dinner in a trendy restaurant. However, by taking another couples reservation, th Fosters are caught up in a dangerous case of mistaken identity and are embroiled in a game of cat and mouse with a number of unpleasant characters, turning to a security specialist CLaire knows (Mark Whalberg) for help to end things so they can return home safely.
What makes this work is the rapport between the leads. They are great together, really working in their pairing as a married couple and as a comedy duo. Both of them are genuinely funny, with skilled comedic timing for the humorous scenes, but then their married couple arguments and touching moments also work convincingly.
There’s also a hugely talented supporting cast thrown in there, far more that I expected. Mark Whalberg is excellent as the playboy security expert who refuses to wear a shirt. In a small turn James Franco and Mila Kunis are good as the couple that the Fosters are being mistaken for, it’s only a small part but Franco suits the tough-guy act very well. Ruffalo and Wiig are also great as the failed couple that inadvertently put the spark into the main relationship, with Kristen Wiig doing what she does best delivering edgy lines in a really matter-of-fact way that somehow makes them funnier.
The film takes a turn from comedy to action in places, and surprises on that level too, with a decently inventive car chase and nice little turns.
All in all, it’s not the greatest comedy film ever, but it is miles from being the worst. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without the lead pairing, and to see just how well they work together you need look no further than the end titles that are complete with improvised out-takes, all of which are at least as funny if not even funnier than the takes that made the final cut.