Date Night

Starring Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Taraji P. Henson, Mila Kunis, Common, Jimmi Simpson, Leighton Meester & Mark Wahlberg. Directed by Shawn Levy. 88 minutes.
Rated M (sexual references and coarse language).

Claire and Phil Foster (Tina Fey and Steve Carell) are a typical suburban couple whose lives – including their weekly date nights of dinner and a movie – have become routine. To reignite the marital spark, they visit a trendy Manhattan bistro where a case of mistaken identity turns their evening into the ultimate date night-gone-awry.  But as Claire and Phil take their unexpected walk on the wild side, they begin to remember what made them so special together.

I find most comedies disappointing. They are, either, too slapstick, too crudely adolescent, or just not very funny. The best ones are, at least for me, subtle and ironic. Date Night is neither subtle nor ironic, but I enjoyed it. It is a fun ride.

Tina Fey and Steve Carell deserve all the credit for taking a decent script and making it even better. In lesser hands, Date Night would have languished considerably.

This is not to say that this film is original. It’s not.  It is filled with physical comedy, a predictable plot and some well-worn comic clichés. But everyone on the screen looks like they are having fun, and it become infectious, and moves along at a very brisk pace.

Maybe this film could fill the bill for a local date night. It has something for everyone, especially for those who want their cinema to be light, bright and just played for laughs.

20th Century Fox  Out April 8, 2010

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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