Tina Fey is really funny. Steve Carell is really funny. Date Night stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell. Ergo, Date Night must be really ... sorry, I wish it worked that way almost as much as the studios do. But no.
Watching Carell and Fey in action, trading quips and dodging gunfire as they attempt to make their way home to white-picket-fence suburbia, makes you wonder why it's taken so long to bring these two gifted comics together.
It gets one crucial element of comic filmmaking right in a way that few recent comedies have. It's cast, down to the smallest role, with genuinely funny performers, people who understand how to time a joke, deliver a setup, underplay a deadpan glance.
The movie's stars, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, are exactly what they seem. They're perfect casting in a short, sweet comedy that makes the most of their genial gifts until it loses its sense of proportion.
Josh Klausner wrote the screenplay, but it really does seem as though some of its funniest lines were ad-libbed. Either that or Klausner deserves credit for tailoring a screenplay so completely to his actors so as to make it seem that they wrote it.
Date Night could have been another The Bounty Hunter -- a DOA movie-star romantic comedy mixed with implausible action/adventure. But instead it's the happiest of surprises: a genuinely sweet, funny movie.
There's something genuine and more than a little sad at the core of Levy's poorly staged, modestly amusing comedy, but it isn't the part that involves flash drives, blackmail, and glowering, gun-toting bad guys.
These are two of the funniest people ever on television, yet their big-screen Date Night is a dreary, uninspired waste of their talents -- and those of the top-name cast inexplicably appearing in small throwaway roles.
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.
Carell and Fey project an intellectual sharpness and an understanding of what's important in life - and what's ridiculous - that are the hallmarks of endearingly sane adults capable of sustaining both a hot career and a warm marriage-with-children.
Fey is almost perfectly paired with Steve Carell as bored, married New Jerseyites Claire and Phil: The way they trade quips and cast snide aspersions at strangers, the actors seem totally believable...