Friday, April 9, 2010

Movie Review: Date Night

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Tina Fey and Steve Carell star as Claire and Phil Foster in Date Night, a movie that would be good for a date night. Two powerhouses of comedy are together in this one film and it could be overpowering. Between Steve and Tina, they found the right combination so that they moved the story forward providing lots of laughs but didn't go over the top making for a fun film that any couple on their own date night would have fun sitting in the darkened theater enjoying their own popcorn and soda.

Phil and Claire are a suburban family with two kids and they've gotten into a rut. He's a tax lawyer and she's a real estate agent. They have the sitter come over to take care of the kids and they go out on their weekly date night. They go to the same restaurant where the waiter knows them by name and what they like and don't like. To help pass the time while eating one of them will select a couple in the restaurant and they role play what they think is going on inside that couple's conversation. It got some good laughs inside the theater.

Phil and Claire change their relationship perspective when confronted by a dramatic situation. A close long time couple announce they are going to get divorced. Basically they were bored with each other and decided that they were the best of roommates rather than husband and wife. Claire and Steve looked dumbfounded and questioned whether they were headed down the street called Ho-Hum in their own relationship.

To change things up Claire dresses up for date night and Phil decides to take her into the city, to New York City from New Jersey to a swanky restaurant without reservations when they decide to pose as another couple, the Tripplehorns, and take over a table they wouldn't have otherwise had. I mean really, who would do that? While they're sitting enjoying their risotto and Cabernet two men (Jimmi Stewart and Common) approach the table and ask Phil and Claire to come along with them. Armstrong and Collins who are not restaurant managers,but thugs try to get "the Tripplehorns" to turn over a flash drive. Through a series of circumstances Phil and Claire get away and run to a former client of Claire's, Grant Holbrooke (Mark Wahlberg) for help. Turns out he is Security Consultant who likes lounging around in his place with his shirt off. While Claire might like this, it makes Phil uncomfortable.

In the process of trying to get a resolution for the case of mistaken identity with Holbrooke's help Phil and Claire track down the real Tripplehorns (James Franco and Mila Kunis), fire guns, deal with cops (Tariji P Henson), the DA (William Fichtner), the mob (Ray Liotta) and have one of the most inventive chase scenes involving a stressed out NY cabbie (JB Smoove) that's come along in a while.

For 88 minutes, this movie passed time quickly. The humor was smart and you could tell there was some improvisation going on. It was enjoyable to watch. Some of the scenes you'd say to yourself, "No way that could happen" but other times there were some real truths about couples who have been together for a while were expressed. It got pointed, but I don't think that they ever got personally nasty during the relationship discussions. Some of the pratfalls were classic but you still found yourself laughing out loud or going "oooohh" because you could feel the pain yourself.

Make sure that you remain all the way to the end of the movie. The credits have some funny scenes including out takes and different improve sessions. The movie is rated PG-13 for some sexual and crude content throughout, drug reference, and some language and violence. I'm wondering what sort of people were attracted to this movie as I watched the final credits part of the audience filed out and not one, but TWO people on separate sides of the theater pulled out LED flashlights to light their way. They safely navigated down the steps without falling. Now, if I could just get those people who walk down my aisle and decide to stop in front of me while I'm watching the credits to move out onto the stairs to make a decision about what to do next, that would be greatly appreciated!

BTW, over at the Skurvy Monkeys, I was christened by Design and Proud Monkey with the moniker Movie Monkey. Today, April 9, 2010 I was presented with my own Skurvy Monkey character portrait.

I understand the directors cap but wonder why it doesn't say "I heart POP corn" after all theaters don't serve buttered corn on the cob, but hot dang, everyone is snapping up those big bags of bushed out corn kernels! In any case I'm excited, kinda like Steve Martin in The Jerk when he says "The new phone book's here! The new phone book's here! This is the kind of spontaneous publicity I need! My name in print! That really makes somebody! Things are going to start happening to me now. " Well, I got my monkey portrait and with this kind of spontaneous publicity things are going to start happening to me now! Thanks Design!

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