After weeks of slogging through the drivel of winter and spring in 3D hell, Hollywood gives us a simpler, more traditional form of entertainment, and boy is it refreshing. Date Night, which stars NBC funny people Steve Carell and Tina Fey, is an entertaining, goofy comedy that relishes in witty, awkward dialogue and silly situations. Though not a comedic classic, Date Night is one of the rare good films of the first four months of 2010.
In Date Night, Carell and Fey star as a boring married couple, who, attempting to be adventurous, steal another couple's dinner reservation at a swanky New York restaurants and are subsequently mistaken for a couple of blackmailers who are in possession of some incriminating evidence that could put a dangerous gangster behind bars. Needless to say, the tax accountant and real estate agent are in over their heads.
Written by Josh Klausner (Shrek the Third, which was awful), Date Night succeeds largely on its dialogue and the chemistry between Fey and Carell. Both actors deliver fine performances, playing off each other with an awkward realism that, though exaggerated, rarely feels cheesy or forced. The movie appeals to the individual talents of both actors, thanks primarily to a solid script that keeps the jokes coming and the pace swift. Not every joke hits the mark, but given the nature of the film's humor, even the bad jokes fit within the confines of the story and its characters.
The movie does struggle a little toward the second act as it shifts toward the climax, but the fast pacing rolls over its shortcomings more often than not. The movie is dotted with good supporting characters that helps keep things interesting. Among them: Mark Wahlberg, as a shirtless black ops stud Fey practically drools over, and James Franco and Mila Kunis as a sleazy couple who throw some zingers at the protagonists.
Date Night isn't perfect and is by no means the funniest movie around, but it is more than entertaining enough to fill the doldrums before summer. Those looking for some lighthearted humor will find plenty to enjoy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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