Film Review: Date Night
I’m a huge fan of 30 Rock and The Office, so it was only a matter of time before I saw Date Night, the Tina Fey/Steve Carrell vehicle about a married New Jersey couple venturing into the city for a date that goes horribly awry. I had pretty low expectations going into this thing. The trailer was pretty bland and Shawn Levy, the director, has arguably made some of the stupidest movies of the past ten years (Cheaper by the Dozen, Just Married, the Pink Panther remake).
I knew in my heart that this movie was going to be formulaic as hell, but I kind of convinced myself that it would play out like a 30 Rock/Office crossover episode. You can usually tell from the coming attractions what a movie is going to be like. In the case of Date Night, the trailers were for that Katherine Heigel/Ashton Kutcher movie Killers, some movie called Dinner for Schmucks, and the remake of The A-Team. Not great.
What I Liked.
It’s definitely not the worst action/comedy film I’ve seen. Probably the best part of the film is the supporting cast. James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, and William Fichtner are all funny. I think Fey and Carrell do a good job despite working with awful script.
What I Didn’t Like
Although I liked Fey and Carrell, they just did not seem like a real married couple. They felt more like brother and sister than husband and wife. I also thought they could have used more of the supporting characters. For instance, when we meet James Franco and Mila Kunis, I was hoping that we’d get to hang out with them for more than five minutes. Finally, the worst part of this movie for me was how unbelievable it was. The film is ostensibly dealing with a common theme: the staleness that some married couples experience after years of being together, going to the same restaurants, etc. But rather than deal with this in a realistic, nuanced manner they decided to throw in gun fights, car crashes, and corrupt cops. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if the action scenes were actually funny. There are funny stupid action scenes (Hot Fuzz) and there are just really bad, annoying, stupid action scenes (Pineapple Express). Date Night falls into the latter category.
I wouldn’t rush to the theatre to see this, but if you like either of the stars and are looking to go to the movies with a member of the opposite sex, you could do worse.