Date Night dabbles in suburban marriage matters, police corruption, and the art of locking your front bumper to the front bumper of a New York taxi cab in the midst of a car chase. A crazy mixed bag in category and appeal, but with Steven Carell and Tina Fey doing the work, the result is downright likable and perfect for a Valentine’s Day rom-com with candy and popcorn.
Carell of The Office and Fey of 30 Rock were king and queen of comedy ten years ago, and although their shtick has dissipated as of late, Date Night reminds us of their artistry in making us cringe and laugh at the same time. Here, they play a realistic, modern-day married couple in search of that old “spark” they once had in their relationship. To spice up their regular Friday “date night” away from the kids, they decide to try a new, trendy restaurant in Manhattan.
To their dismay, the swanky joint only takes reservations a month in advance. This won’t stop Carell, though, who is willing to live life on the edge and do anything to make the date night sparkle for his hard-working wife. So, when the “Tripplehorn” party is announced several times and no one responds, he takes the name and steals the reservation. The crab dinner may be immaculate; but from there on out, all sorts of whacky things happen as whacky thugs mistake the innocent couple as the Tripplehorns.
Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo, Ray Liotta, James Franco, and Mila Kunis make winning cameo performances, but the recurring joke by Mark Wahlberg as a shirtless, muscled spy guy takes the cake, and the term “shirt it up” will forever hold new meaning.
From Central Park to Times Square to subways and strip clubs, we follow Carell and Fey on a chase that may be a bit too action prone from some, but the laughs that come out of their improvised bickering are worth the ride. Be sure to stay through the ending credits to get an idea of how Carell and Fey ad lib one scene and then move it into several hilarious directions. They were at the peak in the comedy world in 2010, but it is still entertaining to see them together in a movie 11 years later.
Happy Valentine’s Day!