8 April 2010 | dvc5159
A very funny movie with plenty of laughs. Carell and Fey are in top form.
I never was a fan of director Shawn Levy's films. Sure, "Big Fat Liar" and the 2006 version of "The Pink Panther" did get some memorable moments, but they weren't THAT re-watchable. A good, funny movie is something that you can remember for quite some time, and I had a hard time remembering something memorable from "Cheaper By The Dozen" and "Just Married". However Levy isn't a bad director, it's just that he needs one good funny movie to really hit it off. No, the two "Night At The Museum" movies don't count. This one does. "Date Night", thus far, is the best movie Levy's directed.
By taking two of the funniest comedians today and putting them in a movie tailor-made for them is somewhat like a blessing. "Date Night" is a romantic comedy, with a slight detour into the action thriller genre. But it still has many laughs, big hearty ones, especially from both Carell and Fey. You see, both of them play a bored married couple who decides to liven up their love life by going into a posh (and extremely snobbish/overbooked) restaurant in the Big Apple. So the loving husband, desperate to work things out, claims (or rather, steals) an unoccupied reservation so that their night together would be romantic and luxurious. Big mistake, as they are mistaken for someone else, which leads to a night of danger, intrigue and excitement.
The best thing about the movie are both Carell and Fey and how well both play each other off. Both have excellent chemistry and have memorable moments and lines. Steve Carell is perfect as the dead-pan husband Phil, while Tina Fey as Claire looks gorgeous and deliver her own brand of jazzy humor. A fine example of their chemistry together is a scene where both of them ad-libs many couples in the film. Great stuff. To quote an early Australian reviewer; "The two surprisingly "deliver the emotional reality of a couple even under comedic demands". I loved them in the movie and I hope they do more comedies together.
There are jokes throughout the movie, both physical and in dialog. A fine example of the physical humor in the film: a car chase that is intense as it is ridiculously funny; and what is arguably the most hilarious strip/pole- dance I've seen in any movie. That scene had me laughing so much, I now have to take cough syrup. There's some memorable lines here too: "You stole our reservation? What kind of people are you?"; "He turned the gun sideways. It's a killshot!" among others. To see these two comedians going through all this in a plot so hilariously Hitchcockian (the plot kinda reminds me of "North By Northwest") is a hoot.
Balancing the comedians out are some fine supporting actors; in fact you could call the cast an ensemble cast of sorts. Besides Carell and Fey, you've got Mark Wahlberg who looks hunky shirtless, to Phil's dismay; Oscar-nominee Taraji P. Henson as a detective trying to put the pieces together; Mila Kunis and James Franco in nearly scene-stealing scenes as a wild couple who enjoy their love life despite their rowdiness; Common and Jimmi Simpson as the two pursuers; William Fichtner in a hilarious yet sleazy performance; and a villainous role for (surprise) Ray Liotta.
In technical aspects, Shawn Levy's direction is brisk and fast-paced, and the cinematography and camera work, as always by Dean Semler, is nothing short of great. The editing is fluid and doesn't ruin the smooth flow of the movie. The script, though with some flaws, is still pretty well written. Yes I agree the movie is illogical and clichéd at some points but then again it's a light-hearted comedy at it's core and for that purpose it got the job done tremendously. Plus at only 90 minutes it's pretty much short and straightforward with it's pace, so that you get what you want. Comedic entertainment at it's finest.
So overall, this is a great romantic comedy to take both your friends and/or your other too. It's a very funny and enjoyable movie to watch. It's a jolly good time at the movies, and I'm glad I saw it. Hey, maybe I'll see it again if I had the chance. This one's a winner.
Overall rating: 7.5/10 (Very good, worth your time and money)