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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Movie review: Date Night

First let me say this about Date Night, the new romantic comedy action adventure movie starring Tina Fey and Steve Carell : I knew going in it wasn't going to be great, but I didn't know whether it would be just plain bad or so-so. I had heard reviews how Carell and Fey couldn't save the weak writing and misguided story line.
I will admit off the bat, I don't like Steve Carell . Although he does have some talent, he just doesn't do anything for me. I don't find him funny, interesting, authentic or anything but ordinary.
But most of all, in most instances, I don't find him believable in anything I have ever seen him in.
This movie was no different in that respect. There are lots of things you can criticize about Date Night, but the casting of Steve Carell as the husband would be the obvious place to start. Thinking that a successful, beautiful, witty woman like Tina Fey would be married to a bland boring tax accountant who looks like Steve Carell is patently absurd, and it played exactly that way the whole movie. Although, I understand why he was cast, he has got name recognition and alot of people will go see the movie because his name is on the marquee, however, that doesn't justify him playing the character from the artistic point of view.
The true test of any movie is very simply did it achieve its purpose. In this case, Date Night, which attempts to be funny, witty, clever, suspenseful and somewhat romantic, certainly did not. For the most part, it is flat not funny, cliched not witty or clever, predictable not suspenseful, and corny not romantic. At points it was anything but entertaining, in fact it was horrifically bad, and if not taking my wife to see it, I seriously could have just walked out.
Now, here's the rub. This could have been a very entertaining movie.
The concept was there. Thirty something young couple living the suburban picket fence life gets caught up in the whole mistaken identity/chase me by mobsters night of frolic. When I saw the trailer for it about 6 months ago, it looked interesting on its surface if they had played it that way, that being the way they played it in the trailer. But as previously mentioned, they didn't.
Aside from Carell , they had Tina Fey, who can deliver the witty lines the way she does when she mocks Sarah Palin, she has that knack of comedic timing.
In addition, they had two or three really great scenes to build upon. First, a meeting with the young couple who they were impersonating, that was a great, very memorable scene in which even Carell came off as authentic. Secondly, the scenes with Mark Wahlberg as the hot private security expert were excellent due to the chemistry between Fey and Wahlberg. And finally, the pole dancing scene at the end had its comedic moments.
If they had taken these three scenes and built on them instead of just filling the rest of the movie with mindless boring scenes, they might have had something, but they didn't. They settled. They settled for Carell , they settled for some boring story lines and some filler scenes and the predictable ending with the romantic moment at the end. They could have done alot better, but they didn't.
And specifically, the chase scene was just stupid and silly, and the final scene was just foolish and boring. Furthermore, they had Ray Liotta and that's all they could do with him.
In years to come, people will view the two or three great scenes on a You Tube and think this was a very funny, witty movie. Then they will rent it and be monumentally disappointed.
So all that being said, I'd give it a very generous 2 stars out of 5.

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