Date Night stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell, actors responsible for uttering 30 Rock quotes and The Office quotes each week that leave us in stiches.
Therefore, you’d expect the film to be the funniest of the year; heck, of the last 10 years.
Instead, it’s simply an average comedy. You’ll laugh out loud a couple times, and probably have a smirk on your face throughout its 88-minute running time. But considering it stars two comedic heavyweights, the movie is a letdown.
The reason is simple, too: instead of relying on a funny script, Date Night relies too heavily on its leads. Certain lines may be humorous because Fey or Carell delivers them, but there’s nothing in the plot or dialogue itself that stands out.
It comes as no surprise, for example, that the best scene in the film involves a stripper routine that Carell improvised.
It’s a shame that the on-screen debut of Fey and Carel as a team didn’t take place in a movie penned by the actress herself. She wrote Mean Girls, after all, an underrated classic. She was also the head writer for years on Saturday Night Live and the main influence on 30 Rock.
Instead of Fey’s brilliant, snarky one-liners (the kind that have earned Alec Baldwin numerous Emmy nominations), her and Carell are stuck doing slapstick and reciting jokes that are far beneath them.
We understand that Carell doesn’t want to simply do a version of Michael Scott in every role, but this is an actor who’s at his funniest when he recites ridiculous dialogue, or finds himelf in ridiculous situations, that his character takes seriously. He’s a master at subtlety and at sarcasm.
Neither of those are on display in Date Night, as finds Fey driving herself a car, with Carell on the hood, and screaming for him to “Move your ass, honey!” Typical situations such as that just make us wish we were watching Liz Lemon.
But the film isn’t awful. It also features Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis and James Franco, a solid cast all-around.
Check out photos of the cast at the NYC premiere and then chime in if you’ve seen Date Night: What did you think?
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