johnlink ranks DATE NIGHT (2010)

To be honest, I wasn’t all that excited when this film was released. I’d never watched the American version of THE OFFICE or 30 ROCK and hadn’t seen SNL in fifteen years, so the Steve Carell and Tina Fey pairing didn’t do anything for me. It looked like a romantic comedy, and I’m iffy on those. But I’ve since watched a bunch of THE OFFICE and grew an appreciation for Carell, and saw a few scenes from the movie and learned it’s more of a romantic-action-comedy. Liz and I were up for a little distraction, and this seemed to fit the bill.

I watched DATE NIGHT (2010) on 3.6.11. It was my first viewing of the film. TRAILER HERE

If you suspend your disbelief and ignore some of the writing gaps, this is a fun, fun ride. This was never meant to be too heavy, obviously, and the draw here is two great comedians being very funny. I’d actually have liked less structure, and more improv (think ACE VENTURA) in order to maximize the output. The plot is thin anyway, we don’t care about the other cops, or what the bad guys did. We want to see Carell and Fey be funny!

When I talk about writing issues I mean: They get drunk, then are sober in three minutes. They manage to crash into another car and combine two cars into one, and then drive them around as one car for fifteen minutes. They are able to do better police work than, you know, the police. The writers set up the children as a possible danger, then nothing happens. Lots is left on the table, and it doesn’t matter, because the pairing is funny enough to avoid it. A great movie would have either sewn those up, or ignored them completely. DATE NIGHT tries to walk the line, and is merely very entertaining. Some scenes seem to purposely avoid making a bigger statement, like when Fey talks about her fantasy and rather than putting a rift between the two her fantasy is innocent alone time. More could have been done to drive them apart emotionally, so the rebound could be higher. Instead, this film never follows through on the idea that their relationship is in any real danger, even after spending the first fifteen minutes arguing that the premise of the movie is that their relationship is in danger.

Mark Wahlberg was great, though Ray Liotta was wasted. Cameos abound, and they usually have their desired effect. But, again, whenever Carell and Fey aren’t on screen, we want them to be. This was just a great pairing, and I hope to see more of them!



The bonus is for the improv work, which makes up for much of the poor writing. Again, these are two comedians at the top of their game. Pleasure to see them riffing together.




~ by johnlink00 on March 7, 2011.

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