After a long day at work, when you get home to your other half, romance is often the last thing on your mind. Throw some kids into the equation and it’s no wonder couples get precious little ‘us time’.
Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) are a typical suburban couple who have settled into a predictable routine. Even their designated ‘date night’ sees them go to the same old steakhouse where they eat the same old dinner and have the same old conversations. After hearing their friends are getting divorced, they try and reignite the spark and head downtown to an exclusive restaurant. Unable to get a booking they take the table of an absent party and so starts a comedy caper of mistaken identity, flash drives and corrupt coppers.
Fey and Carell are at the helms of two of the biggest comedy shows on American TV (30 Rock & The Office) and despite the fact that this is their first outing together, they have incredible chemistry. These performances are natural, hilarious and they perfectly portray a very likeable, very ordinary couple.
Without them this film would be a mediocre True Lies/Mr And Mrs Smith rehash. The clunky plot and action scenes are very much in director Shawn Levy’s domain. When Fey and Carell are given space to improvise the movie really comes alive.
There’s an all star cast, Mark Wahlberg is happy to mock himself as shirtless security expert, Ray Liotta plays a mobster (what else?) and William Fichtner a crooked district attorney. James Franco and Mila Kunis provide a funny and touching scene as the tattooed twosome who have caused the Fosters’ troubles.
Away from the action is where Fey and Carell’s comedy pairing really shines. They are sometimes trapped in the high-action plot line which their talent clearly exceeds (as demonstrated in the improvised outtakes shown in the closing credits).
Despite its flaws, Date Night is a sparkling comedy that anyone who lives with a partner will identify with. Time to book a babysitter and head to the cinema…