Saturday, July 30, 2011

Review: Date Night (2010) TH

A night of misadventures and misunderstandings

Phil (Carell) and Claire (Fey) Foster are an average couple from New Jersey who have harmless full time jobs, two highly active kids and most importantly no time to build on the romance and adventure they once started out with. They seem to have become a cross between best friends and brother and sister, as they're familiar enough to give out sarcastic and sometimes dry jokes with some comedic observations thrown in at what was them or could really be them. They're so busy and responsible that they hardly noticed the slump of doing the same ol' things in the same ol' order until their close friends the Sullivans (Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig) are getting a separation from lack of wind in their sails. Claire and Phil decide to turn a regular date night into one they'll remember, except it ends up being more than they bargained for.

After getting shot down for a reservation at a trendy, upscale restaurant called Claw over in New York, they pretend to be the Tripplehorns to snag a table. Quicker than you can say, "If you're looking for trouble, it's bound to find you," two guys who appear to be restaurant employees ask the now drunk couple to step outside. Soon enough things turn for the "North by Northwest" worst, as these are gun waving fellows are looking to get a flashdrive back for their boss Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta) and don't believe the two aren't really the Tripplehorns. Instead of getting filled with lead, Phil and Claire go with the flow and make up information in hopes that something will come up in the meantime. Opportunity strikes and they get away only to find themselves jumping back and forth to escape the two that look like henchmen but might be something else.

From one location to the next, they end up breaking every other law, get help from the continually shirtless private security guy named Holbrooke Grant (Mark Wahlberg), to meeting the real Tripplehorns called Whippit (Mila Kunis) and Taste (James Franco) that are just a couple of movie referencing Bonnie and Clydes who got in over their heads. This is an exaggerated cinematic world where regular people exceed and bad guys are really bad. Everyone is a caricature of their type from shady gangsters, perverted politicians to corrupt cops, which makes the experience purposely silly and far from ground-breaking but still a somewhat fun formula because it doesn't even take itself seriously. Some situations jump the ship of just being plain dumb, such as both attempting to pole dance and then like a miss episode of SNL it carries on far too long. There's a tad of action between the one-liners and sometimes inventive remarks, including an impossible but wild car chase and some guns waved and fired. Fey and Carell are both energetic and well-timed out with their back and forth banter in between their characters trying to figure out an exit strategy. This is about two regular folks attempting to save their own skin and simultaneously save the day. Been there, done that countless times, but it's still an easy and unchallenging ride to relax and loosen up with to pass the time even if it doesn't claim to be a first rate film.

Director: Shawn Levy (Just Married, Night at the Museum)
Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Ray Liotta, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig
Website: IMDB


Claire: "That's amazing, Jeremy, but I'm gonna go home now and fart into a shoe box."

Woman at book club meeting: "This part really spoke to me. I mean, to walk 20 miles for water, and then to suddenly discover that you're menstruating?"
Phil: "Quite sad."
Woman: "Sir, you have no idea what it is like to be a teenage girl having your first period under Taliban rule."

Taste: "This is about how I'm an asshole all the time, huh? How you have no trust that I can pull things through."
Whippit: "Yeah!"
Taste: "How I can't do anything right? I buy the wrong soda?"
Whippit: "Yeah."
Taste: "The wrong beer!"
Phil: "I hear you, man."
Taste: "The wrong nipple clamps."
Phil: "Well..."
Whippit: "Those clamps hurt me!"