Choppy, uneven fun...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 10/04/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"`Date Night', while consistently funny, doesn't deliver the laughs I was expecting. Maybe that's because the plot is so contrived and unevenly distributed that you wind up scratching your head instead of focusing on the humor. Thankfully the two leads carry this film rather well, and the sprinkling of familiar faces in smaller roles is a nice touch, but overall I was a little disappointed with the finished product.
The film follows a crazy night that ensues after a middle-aged married couple named Phil and Claire Foster falsely claim to be the `no show' Tripplehorn's at a posh restaurant. Thoroughly enjoying themselves, their night is tarnished when they are accosted by two corrupt police officers threatening to kill them if they don't hand over the property they stole from their `boss'. Narrowly escaping death, the Fosters then enlist the help of on of Claire's former clients in order to outwit the thugs and save their family from danger.
I'll just say, Carell and Fey have great chemistry. They interact beautifully and they really flesh out natural and relatable characters here. You feel like you know them or at least want to know them. The overall storyline is a tad underdeveloped and overworked. There is almost too much going on but not enough real thought put into making the flow feel structured or even coherent. It kind of bounces around with moments that feel great and others that just lack in many areas. In then end, it just doesn't make a lot of sense AT ALL. The barrage of supporting players (everyone from Oscar nominees like Mark Wahlberg and Taraji P. Henson to musicians like Common and `hot commodities' like James Franco, Mila Kunis and Leighton Meester show up here, not to mention the comedic frequents like Kristen Wiig and the reliable character actors like Mark Ruffalo and William Fichtner) works well for me (I know some weren't keen on it). They all seem to know their places well.
There are some memorable lines here, although the dialog is not as fresh or as sharp as I expected. Still, Carell and Fey work what magic they can and the overall feel of the film is one that is warm and humorous.
You'll enjoy it, even if it doesn't live up to expectations."