From the Editor

Movie Review Archive

Thank you for checking out my movie review archive. I'm in the process of transitioning to something else, so I will no longer post new reviews to this blog. In the meantime, I will keep these reviews archived; these are from the fall of 2008 to April 2011. Please watch this blog for more info and keep in touch (you can still find me on Facebook and Twitter). Here's to more great movies!

Wes Singleton

North Texas Film Critics Association

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Date Night - C+

Rated PG-13 for sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference, 88 minutes

Carrell & Fey a strong team in the thin, silly comedy "Date Night"

At least it has Steve Carrell & Tina Fey. They're the most redeeming qualities about the weak effort that comes up a mediocre "Date Night." While their antics and interplay are certainly amusing, it (and they) could've been far, far funnier that what ends up on screen. With better direction, timing and a better story, it might even been great, but "Date Night" is really just a second-rate movie built around two first-rate comedians.

Phil and Claire Foster (Carrell and Fey) are a sensible, loving couple with two kids and a house in suburban New Jersey. They attempt something close to a date night each week, going to the same place and ordering the same food. They decide to do something different and go to the city for a romantic evening to spice up their marriage.

However, a mistaken identity gets them involved in an adventure and high-level crime involving two corrupt cops (Jimmi Simpson and Common), a DA (William Fichtner) at the center of it all, a mob boss (Ray Liotta), a security guy who never wears a shirt (Mark Walhberg) and the hapless detective (Taraji P. Henson) trying to track them all down.

"Date Night" is an entertaining but flimsy comedy that could've been far better considering the first-rate talent involved. Without Fey and Carrell's enjoyable talents, this would've been far worse. The scattershot, unfocused direction from "Night at the Museum's" Shawn Levy could've added a little depth to the thin premise to begin with. Fey and Carrell provide the film more memorable scenes, especially in throwing out one-liners that both comedians are more skilled at, though one overlong scene with a sports-car and a taxi is fun.

The movie also packs way, way too many familiar faces in cameos or bit roles: Mark Ruffalo, Kristin Wiig, Will I. Am, James Franco and Mila Kunis, though the last two are funny as the real couple their mistaken for. Wahlberg has a couple of good scenes without his shirt, even he's not really given much to do in a very brief role. The script chases too many rabbits and ends up way too predictable.

Fey and Carrell are essentially playing uptight versions of themselves from their hit TV shows "The Office" and "30 Rock," and it really doesn't provide anything new, revealing or really even much of a stretch. But they seem to work together with ease, play off each other well and seem to have fun in "Date Night," and a fun date is sometimes better than a bad date. You may not remember much, but at least you had a good time.