‘Date Night’ Delivers Both Action, Comedy

Liz Cameron

With lines like “zip your face” that have you laughing throughout the movie, “Date Night” lives up to its expectations as a hit action-comedy.

Between working and parenting two children, Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carell, “The Office” and Tina Fey, “30 Rock”) have lost the spark in their marriage and become a predictable routine couple. Not wanting to end up like their divorcing friends and wishing to revitalize their marriage, they decide to break their habit of weekly “date nights” and try something new.

Changing their plans from the restaurant they always eat dinner at, the Fosters venture into the city to a trendy Manhattan bistro called the Claw. The suburban couple is snubbed by the rude maåtre d’ for not having reservations for one of the city’s most sought after eateries.

Not wanting to give up on the night, Phil Foster has an idea (which throughout the movie gets the couple nowhere helpful): he takes another person’s reservation.

Pretending to be the Tripplehorns, the Fosters have an enjoyable meal. However, this all takes a turn for the worse when they are approached by two men named Armstrong and Collins (Jimmi Simpson, “House M.D.” and rapper Common) in a case
of mistaken identities.

The two crooked cops on the pay of Manhattan’s mobster boss Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta “Goodfellas,” 1990) tell them to step outside of Claw where the Fosters are questioned at gunpoint about a flash drive. Seeing no other way out of the situation they continue in the roles of the Tripplehorns until the chance to get away arises.

Tracking down the Tripplehorns in order to find the flash drive takes some finesse. Claire contacts a former client from her job as a realtor. Holbrooke Grant, played by Mark Wahlberg, (“The Italian Job,” 2003) steps in with the latest technology from being a security expert (although he isn’t sporting any six packs, he’s drop dead gorgeous). He tracks down the Tripplehorns using satellite technology.

Through their adventures that involve running from crooked cops and crashing cars, the Fosters reignite the spark within their marriage.

Directed by Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” 2008), and written by Josh Klausner (“Shrek the Third,” 2007), “Date Night” includes performances from Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” 2008), James Franco (“Pineapple Express,” 2008), Mila Kunis (“That ’70s Show”) and William Fichtner (“Crash,” 2004).

The action in this comedy is unexpected and entertaining. A totaled car running into the East River in New York, dodging bullets while driving and lodged cars maneuvering together through traffic makes a nice high speed chase scene.

There is never a dull moment in the movie, when the bullets aren’t flying, the comedy is at its best with sarcasm and witty remarks that will keep the audience amused and entertained.

Those interested will enjoy “Date Night” as long as they aren’t expecting more than what they’ve seen from Fey and Carell in the past.

Viewers will enjoy the movie but don’t expect side-splitting comedy. The humor keeps the audience interested but isn’t necessarily a must-see movie. The hilarity of “Date Night” is funny but doesn’t blow the audience away with laughter when compared to other comedies such as “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle,” (2004).

The two best moments of the movie are when the Fosters meet the Tripplehorns. The characters, nicknamed Whippit and Taste, are played by Mila Kunis and James Franco. The chemistry between the four characters is phenomenal and makes for an awesome scene. Some of the best lines come from the few minutes that Franco and Kunis share the screen with the stars.

The second moment is when Carell is having a heart-to-heart moment with Wahlberg, then totally breaks the mood by begging him to put on a shirt since his pecs aren’t as nice.
The general audience can relate to “Date Night” for its broad reflection of how the average person wishes to experience some excitement in their lives after living a very routine lifestyle, and tells the story tastefully through comedy.

It has something for everyone, a bit of cheesiness for the romantics, a bit of action for the adrenaline junkies, and it’s all mixed together for anyone who likes to laugh.

Although the movie is rated PG-13 for sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug references, I would advise strong parental guidance. There are innuendos and vulgar language that parents might question whether to watch “Date Night” with children.

“Date Night” runs 88 minutes.

My rating is four out of five stars.