Home > Vulture News > THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: ‘Date Night’ Should Defeat ‘Clash’ For #1

THE WEEKEND MARQUEE: ‘Date Night’ Should Defeat ‘Clash’ For #1

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Steve Carrell and Tina Fey, who have each staked out their own claim on TV; Carell in The Office and Fey in 30 Rock (although The Office is, so far, the only ratings hit)  and at the multiplex in movies like Get Smart and Baby Mama, combine forces for Date Night, a comedy about a middle aged married couple whose routinely scheduled night out on the town turns into a case of mistaken identity. The plot is recycled from movies like North by Northwest, Some Like It Hot and The Out of Towners and gets regularly trotted out like clockwork every few years. Sometimes it works in a movie like The Big Lebowski and sometimes the result is something more along the lines of Connie and Carla. For the stars of Date Night, whose background is improv comedy it’s a perfect opportunity to explore their particular brand of comedy, while sending up the genre.

In an interview for the LA Times the stars of the movie revealed their favorite improv moments from the film:

Steve: Oh! When you come out in your disguise. . . .

Tina: In my sexy outfit, yes. Because I kept thinking that the stripper outfit I wore is the kind you put on a woman that you can’t put a bikini top on, so clearly it’s covering everything. I wanted to justify why it was so not revealing. So I said, “It’s the only thing long enough in there to cover my C-section scar.” I don’t know why. It makes me happy.

Steve: I asked him to leave in me licking the [stripper] pole.

Tina: I asked him to please leave in that your fantasy woman was Cyndi Lauper.

THE BUZZ: Good. Shawn Levy rose through the ranks directing movies like Just Married, Cheaper by the Dozen and The Pink Panther in addition to the hugely successful Night and the Museum franchise. Even though most of his films have been financially successful, they’ve also been examples of the lowest form of screwball kids comedy; manic and unfunny. It appears Levy once again uses his trademark, everything but the kitchen sink approach to directing, in Date Night. This time around though, most critics felt that the unnecessary and distracting complications of the plot are somewhat made up for by the chemistry and comic timing of stars Carrell and Fey.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune‘s Colin Covert points out how the stars rise above Levy’s misguided direction:

Carell and Fey are funny with their faces, not their bodies, and in physical comedy scenes where they’re supposed to be funny-awkward, they’re awkward-awkward. A pole dancing scene in a strip club and a roll on the grass on their suburban doorstep are painful to behold. Fey looks as if half her concentration is going toward not toppling out of her high heels. They’re great in close-ups, though, with years of TV practice. They can telegraph anxiety, humiliation and exasperated affection in a glance. They give the film a boost even Levy can’t deflate.

The Chicago Tribune‘s Michael Phillips also takes a shot at the director in his review:

Levy shoots much of Date Night like an ’80s cop thriller of the Running Scared variety, which is hard on the comic mood. As Date Night revels in how danger and near-death experiences can reignite a marriage, it revels equally in how Carell and Fey can make a formulaic movie seem fresh, simply by virtue of their respective comic chops.

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