Stuck in the same old rut day in and day out? Routine, familiar, normal, same old same old. These words describe many married couples who have fallen into that mundane stage of their relationship where they don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Everything is pretty much planned out and done the exact same way day in and day out. Steve Carrell and Tina Fey represent this type of married couple in Date Night.
Phil and Claire Foster (Carrell & Fey) are a quiet, very ordinary New Jersey married couple with the house, the kid, and the cars. Everything you would expect from a nuclear family. The go to work, they come home, they entertain their kids, and they go to sleep. One night a week, they go out and attempt to enjoy themselves but even that “date” is a very predictable one.
After discovering that two of their good friends are splitting up, they begin to open up their eyes to the possibility of their own marriage going south as well. So on their very next date night, Phil decides to try something different in order to impress his wife. He takes her into the city without a reservation to a restaurant that is difficult to get into. Stealing a reservation by pretending to be another couple, they get a table but also get into a heap of unwanted trouble and attention. They spend the rest of night running from and evading everyone from criminals and crooked cops trying to solve the mystery of their mistaken identity.
With the potential that this idea for a story contains combined with established comedic actors such as Carrell and Fey, I expected a little more from it. The story written by Josh Klausner obviously has a moral behind all of the funny. A very realistic moral in which tons of couples, married and dating alike all deal with: the fear of monotony and boredom bearing down on a relationship that probably began with such an exciting spark. Although it does seem ironic, some of the plot falls into this complacency with the comedy. However, it does prevent itself from completely tanking with some stand out scenes. The interactions between the two main characters and other actors like Mark Wahlberg, James Franco and Mila Kunis are all laugh out louder’s.
Carrell doesn’t seem to be his complete nutty self in this film but being paired with another comedy personality, I didn’t really expect him to. The audience does get to receive some his off the wall charm here and there along with the sarcastic Fey. Some of the best moments are their impersonations of other random people while they are at dinner and Mark Wahlberg’s inability to put on a shirt.
With some scenes feeling like the film is reaching just a bit for some extra laughs, it lacks when it should be picking up. But if you can get over these incidents, then this film with amuse you. Carrell’s other two films this year so far were much better. I give Date Night “3 votes against marital monotony out of 5”.
“…And will you, for the love of God, put on a f***ing shirt?”