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Review

Comedy entertains despite forced humor

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April 15, 2010

“Date Night” is good for a fun, action-packed good time, but it could’ve been better, especially with actors like Tina Fey and Steve Carell at the helm. It was fun, funny and entertaining for what it was. The room for improvement is a result of the script, not the actorsthey made the best of it. Then again, this isn’t really a film expected to have much depth, so if taken as it is, it is pretty enjoyable.

Date Night is simply a light-hearted action comedy about a New Jersey married couple whose night on the town turns into a race for their lives. Fey and Carell are wonderfully delightful, as always, as Phil and Clare Foster, a couple desperately trying to maintain romance in their relationship despite the demands of work and family.

After a neighboring couple announces their divorce, Phil and Clare decide to add a little spice to date night and steal the reservation of absentee diners at a posh new Manhattan restaurant. Unfortunately, they take the names of some folks who apparently are in possession of some contraband materials, and soon find themselves on the run from corrupt cops (Jimmi Simpson and Common) who were sent to retrieve them by a cutthroat mobster (Ray Liotta).

Mark Wahlberg has an entertaining appearance as one of Clare’s clients, a charming, capable and shirt-deficient security expert who not only offers them some unexpected assistance, but helps them rekindle the excitement and romance of their marriage.

One of the downfalls of the film was that, at times, many of the elements such as humor and action seemed forced and not as effective as they should be. Sometimes the story wasn’t moving along as it should, and it seemed off. Fortunately, this didn’t ruin the film, it just hindered it a bit at times.

The reality is that Date Night is… well, it’s not “good,” according to just about any functional definition of that word. It’s also not really “bad,” in the sense that it’s unpleasant to watch. On the contrary, it’s funny, although not shoot-milk-out-your-nose funny. “Cute” and “thinly amusing” might be better descriptors. Fey and Carell do a great job of managing to bring out the funny in a not-so-funny script. Still, whether it was scripted and directed to be funny, or whether it’s funny just because the actors will it so, “Date Night” is still funny, and that’s ultimately what counts. One can only hope that the delightful duo will be paired together again with a better script.

At least it’s decent and amusing enough that it doesn’t hurt to watch it. If that doesn’t sound like praise, I guess that’s because it’s really not; but it’s also not a condemnation, and at any rate, the film is undeniably a lot better than it easily could have been. If you want a deep film to discuss, this may not be the right film for you. But if you’re looking for a fun date movie, it doesn’t get much better than this. And after all, it’s called Date Night. What more can you expect?

Natalie Conrad is a junior journalism and marketing communications major and French minor. She enjoys running,reading, writing, playing guitar, and traveling.