April 9, 2010 (Calcutta Tube): Date Night is a 2010 English movie directed by Shawn Levy with Steve Carrell, Tina Fey in lead roles. Read the film review at Calcutta Tube.
Starring: Steve Carrell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Common, Ray Liotta, James Franco and Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo
Direct: Shawn Levy
Movie Review by Sampurn
Verdict: Date Night- Superb, uproarious comedy
Rating: 3.5 out of 5*
Phil Foster (Steve Carell) is a tax consultant. Wife Claire (Tina Fey) is a realtor. Between their jobs, two young children, and all the other daily responsibilities that go into a day-to-day life, the two of them can barely muster up enough energy to go out by themselves once a week for dinner at a nearby steakhouse. When friends Haley (Kristen Wiig) and Brad (Mark Ruffalo) announce they are getting a divorce, no longer romantic partners so much as great roommates, it hits home for the Fosters. Have they, too, lost their spark? For their next date night, they raise the ante, getting dressed up and heading into Manhattan to dine at Claw, a chic, upscale seafood restaurant so snooty the hosts answer the phone with “You’re welcome.” Desperate for a table but without reservations, they decide to take that of the nowhere-to-be-found Tripplehorns. Before their meal is over, Phil and Claire are mistaken for the missing diners and running for their lives from a couple of thugs (Jimmi Simpson and Common) who want a flash drive with incriminating evidence exposing DA Frank Crenshaw’s (William Fichtner) dirty dealings with the mob.
Date Night is that rare high-concept action-comedy that not only earns every one of its fairly consistent big laughs, but also provides a certain amount of pathos, too. Amidst the zany plot turns and one of the most surprisingly creative car chases ever put to film is a connective and universal reality that audiences will be able to identify with. This is no more the circumstance than in the relationship between its two lead characters, an overworked couple hoping to put some spice and excitement back into their marriage. Playing them, Steve Carel and Tina Fey are about as perfect as an onscreen pairing can get, their impeccable improvisational skills matched only by their honesty as performers.
Director Shawn Levy clearly knows when he has two actors that know funny and he lets them do their thing then picks the best bits, which allows for some incredibly strong laughs. Not all of it works and sometimes it gets a little silly, but Carell and Fey have a way of making even the silliest moments. There’s still plenty of room for others in the cast to get laughs, whether it’s a shirtless Mark Wahlberg, who plays up the gag so splendidly, he gets a laugh every time he shows up to open his door sans shirt, or James Franco and Mila Kunis as a very different couple from the Fosters.
The moments of the movie that don’t work as well are when it gets into the actual crime-thriller aspect of the story. Few of the actors playing thugs and gangsters are particularly effective at being threatening, even Ray Liotta, typecast as the mob boss behind the overall plot.
Date Night is not a perfect film but the chemistry between the leads and Levy’s suddenly sure and steady hand delivers a superb, uproarious comedy.
Movie Review by IANS
Verdict: Date Night- Hilarious tribiue to marriage
As individuals, we go through it. But a married couple going through a mid-life crisis can be tragic, or if you believe director Shawn Levy, it could be hilarious.
Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) are a sweet affable couple. They have steady jobs — Phil as a tax lawyer and Claire as a real estate agent. But years of marriage and raising two naughty children have taken a toll and they are more like ‘excellent roommates’ than a passionate couple.
They go on a date night every week, but it’s only slightly less boring than their daily existence. After they see their best friends break apart as a couple, their own frustrations come to surface. They know they have to do something. They begin with their date night.
Instead of going to their usual restaurant, they decide to go to Manhattan and dine at an expensive restaurant. But they have no reservation. So they steal a reservation that is in the name of Tripplehorns. Little do they know that they are in for big trouble. Turns out that the original Tripplehorns have a flash drive, which two goons are ready to kill the boring couple for.
Their explanation that they are actually the Fosters falls on deaf ears. So, they run for their lives and head to the police station. Sadly, it turns out that the goons are actually cops. Having almost no one to turn to, and nothing to save them from two murderous men and a whole Italian mafia behind them, they have no option left but to pull up their socks and fight them out on their own.
They encounter situations they couldn’t imagine, and do things they wouldn’t have done in a 100 re-births.
‘Date Night’ uses a cliched premise for an action-comedy. Yet, for a Hollywood flick to work the basic plot and also the final resolution, it need not be original — but the situations, the tension, the chemistry between the lead pair and the comedy definitely need to be.
Thankfully, director Levy and writer Josh Klausner make ingenious situations that have enough original gags and witty dialogues going to have you in splits.
In one of the funniest sequences, a sports car and a taxi are stuck head on, engaged in a tug-of-war and chased by the police across Manhattan. They try different means, but fail to get either the cars separated or the police off their tail. They succeed only when the husband and wife work as a team.
This tribute to marriage and married couples is hilarious.
Oh yes, the couple come out unscathed in the end, but wise. They learn their lessons. They discover in the course of the night that their spouses, who they had taken for granted as boring, have much more in them that they had lost touch with. It took some effort, and a lot of zany situations, for them to discover it.
Manhattan provides the perfect background for the breakup and getting together of the couple.
Mark Whalberg in a shirtless role Salman Khan fans would rave about and James Franco in a quick cameo show good timing and complement the lead pair well.
‘Date Night’ is a good watch for married couples to laugh at themselves and for the unmarried to know where they could be headed.