Adventures in Date Nighting
As movies go there is nothing special about "Date Night" as it basically mixes humour with action. The set up of a married couple who are so stuck in a routine that even there date nights are routine is amusing but not exactly laugh out loud funny. And when the emphasis changes to them having to run away from bad guys and try and prove their innocence it delivers big action that you expect in a comedy, car stunts, arguing you know the sort of thing. And as such "Date Night" would be a completely middle of the road romantic comedy if it wasn't for the fact it stars Steve Carell and Tina Fey who breathe life into some of the obvious humour.
For Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) life has become one long routine, they get up go to work come home and go to bed, feeding the family in the minutes in between. Even their regular date nights, which are meant to be a night of freedom from the daily trudge, are just an extension of it. But when they learn that their friends are separating because their marriage has become little more than two people living together they decide to spice up their date night by heading to the city to a swanky restaurant. But their night is certainly spiced up when they are mistaken for someone else, someone who has something belonging to some very dangerous people and so Phil and Claire not only have to spend the night on the run by try and find some way of clearing the mistaken identity mess up.
In a rather ironic the way the best part of "Date Night" is the set up as it takes us into the routine world of Phil and Claire Foster where every day is the same built around the children, work and then bed. You have to smile when we see that even date night has become just another part of the monotonous routine where they end up discussing their children whilst eating the same old meal. And when they go home and Phil sees that Claire has put in her over night mouth guard it is humorous that it means no sex tonight. In a midst all of this it does make a clever point that some marriages become little more than two people living together and working as a team to keep the household running rather than being a relationship.
Anyway this fun opening leads to the main story which sees Phil and Claire being mistaken for two other people and find themselves dealing with a couple of heavies who want a flash drive they think they have. Without going in to too much detail this leads to basically an adventurous night as they get away from bad guys and then try to tackle the problem head on. Now whilst this leads to a funny meeting between the Fosters and the shirtless security expert Holbrooke Grant as well as one crazy car chase scene it all feels familiar. And that is part of the trouble because in the end "Date Night" actually runs to a formula relying purely on the humour to entertain which it does but not always.
But then "Date Night" has two things on its side and those are Steve Carell and Tina Fey who make even some of the most stupid moments fun. There is great chemistry and timing between Carell and Fey who both appear quite happy to act the fool but they also deliver the few moments of cleverness such as the opening where mundane life gets them down. It does mean that whilst "Date Night" also features Mark Wahlberg in shirtless mode and also James Franco, Mila Kunis, Mark Ruffalo and many more well known faces it is purely what Carell and Fey bring to the movie which helps lift it to just above average.
What this all boils down to is that "Date Night" is a fun movie with an amusing opening which is followed by some stereotypical comedy action. But what makes it entertaining is less to do with the writing but more to do with the casting of Steve Carell and Tina Fey who makes even some of the stupidest gags funny.