Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Date Night

Film #279


In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple’s attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.

Year 1, Day 283

BEFORE: Back to the comedy chain (I’m doing a really great job at sticking to the schedule aren’t I) with yet another Steve Carell film, Date Night. This also stars Tina Fey (who is new to the marathon) and is also very helpful on this busy day as its runtime is just 88 minutes.

AFTER: Date Night is very much a Hollywood blockbuster. From the big name actors, to the big action, to something as basic as the story, this is a film that one would not necessarily call unique. It plays like a film you’ve seen many times before, one where you can guess how things will work out and where the characters fit certain tropes. At the same time however, I could not help but find Date Night highly entertaining. It provided many laughs and even though many parts of the film seemed rote, as a whole everything tied in really nicely and makes for a great entry into the genre of action-comedy.

At the forefront of the films strengths is the actors. Without Steve Carell and Tina Fey (in addition to many supporting roles included Mark Wahlberg and James Franco), Date Night probably wouldn’t have been nearly as funny as it was with them. Right from the start you get a good sense of who Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire Foster (Tina Fey) are and this is very important for the rest of the film. Without being able to connect with the Fosters within the first few minutes (my first chuckle came before the two-minute mark - and that includes opening credits), the rest of the film wouldn’t have had the same impact. Seeing Phil and Claire go through their normal routine and getting to know them as parents (they have fantastic chemistry - you never doubt for a second that they are a married couple) doesn’t necessarily forgive the mayhem that follows, but at least provides some sort of anchor from having it go off the deep end.

The reason I liked Date Night so much is simply because I enjoyed watching it. Even bad films can provide lots of entertainment, it’s just a matter of whether or not it suits your tastes. While this isn’t the funniest film you’ll see, and definitely not the most original, it’s still amusing. Technically (visually, sonically) there’s nothing wrong with the film and the jokes/funny situations the Fosters are placed in more than make up for the less than stellar portions. And I don’t think this is just a personal thing. I think many people do/will find the film funny and I would recommend getting around to seeing it at some point. After all, it is quite short so it’s not that big of a time commitment.

RATING: 4 out of 5