Today our resident film guru Yalin brings us his view on the new comedy Date Night. Thanks Yalin!
Never, ever, take someone else’s restaurant reservation. One little white lie can take your life off the rails.
That is pretty much the premise behind the new comedy from Levy, Date Night. Starring the poster children of US comedy, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, the film has to satisfy a lot of expectations on the comedy front. It ends up as an enjoyable night out, but the action takes over from what could have been a funnier film given the improvisation geniuses involved.
Phil and Claire Foster (Carell and Fey respectively) live a quiet life in suburban New Jersey with their two kids. Their marriage seems boring, tiring and extremely ordinary; so ordinary in fact that they don’t even remember their date nights – the nights without the kids – and even when they do, it feels like a chore. One of these date nights takes a wrong turn when Phil, in a desperate attempt to save his marriage, tries to take someone else’s reservation for a romantic dinner. That lie propels their relationship into resolution; that is after they’ve been kicked, chased, shot at, among other things that include some extremely funny references to robot sex.
The action in the film takes centre stage with elaborate sequences that are thrilling. Long car chases follow breaking-and-entering, which definitely keeps the film going at a nice pace. However, this also means that the comedy is a bit dispersed so it never reaches a crescendo to sustain itself. This seems a bit endemic in Levy’s films from the Pink Panther to Night at the Museum, where the comedy cannot sustain itself and relies heavily on action sequences.
Overall, Date Night is an enjoyable film with some good action and a few good laughs. It doesn’t take any risks and plays on a tested-and-true Hollywood formula. However, with the Carell-Fey duo, I was expecting something better than Levy’s other films.
One thing that I’m sure of after seeing the film is that we’ll see more from the duo as they’re a good comedy couple. They work off of each other’s energy and lines extremely well, which shows off in the small portions of the film where they were ad-libbing and improvising. If you want to see more, stay until the end of the credits and you’ll be treated with some extra takes that are well worth it.