Radio 04.09.10
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” and here’s my commentary on “Date Night,” a film opening today at The Majestic Theater in Greenville :
            Steve Carrell and Tina Fey are two of the most accomplished comics in our culture, excelling especially in parodies.  And yet, their roles in “Date Night” are themselves almost caricatures.  They play a “boring couple from New Jersey ” who both work, are busy raising a family, and try their best to salvage a little passion in connection with their own relationship.  Finally they decide to have a “date night” in The City ( Manhattan , that is), and show up at a swanky restaurant, without a reservation, expecting to be seated, which is laughable to the maitre d’, but they are determined to have a good time.  So, while waiting at the bar, they impulsively claim the reservation of some party of two who obviously weren’t answering the page, which turns out to be a bad idea.  That particular couple was being hunted down by a couple of thugs because they held possession of a flash drive that could be used to blackmail the DA (who’s in cahoots with a mobster).  The contract thugs assume our “ordinary” couple to be their target, and thus begins the all-night misadventure.
            While there are some funny moments (especially the outtakes during the credits at the end), including a pole-dancing parody (fully clothed), this is really about our not-so-odd couple’s mutual affection, and the way they protect each other, and literally watch each other’s back.  It’s kind of charming, but it’s neither roll-in-the-aisles hilarious nor particularly good cop drama, and the screenplay is very uneven. (She gets all soiled and dirty early in the evening, but later on, wearing the same dress and obviously not having a chance to clean up, suddenly the smudges are gone, and makeup restored.)  At least it’s always fun to play the speculation game, as they do, of making up a story about other couples seated at the nearby tables in a restaurant, but here, they provide the added benefit of synchronizing their make-believe dialogue with identical lip-synching from the other table!  (This commentator, for one, is glad that other people suffer from the same curiosity malady.)
            The fact that they’re doing a “straight” couple together would itself be amusing to their most loyal fans, but for those not so current on their career developments, “Date Night,” while mildly amusing, is a weak thriller and a surprisingly subdued comedy.
This is Ron Salfen, “At The Movies,” for 93.5 KICK-FM