Considering a human has the potential to live more than a hundred years, it’s no surprise that there are periods of time where one becomes disenchanted with the pleasures of life. These stalling moments can be caused by prolonged depression, lack of accomplishment, or even boredom.
It’s also not shocking that some individuals spend their lives in a routine. In fact, a lot of humans are stuck in a routine. It seems like you have to wake up the kids, take a shower, make breakfast, and rush to work — where you patiently await the moment you return home — just to hop right back into bed where the cycle repeats endlessly.
Shawn Levy, who helmed the horrendous “Night at the Museum” and its equally atrocious sequel, deals with the theme of routines in his latest project “Date Night,” which boasts undeniably likeable performances from Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
Carell and Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, a married couple who rely strictly on schedules. In an attempt to spice up their relationship, Phil attempts to take Claire out on a romantic dinner in an upscale restaurant in Manhattan. When they arrive and discover there are no more tables, Phil and Claire pretend to be a pair of missing patrons and are greeted by a duo of thugs (Common and Jimmi Simpson) who assume the Fosters are the absent couple.
This case of mistaken identity leaves Phil and Claire both held up at gun-point with the thugs asking for a mysterious flash drive and also reinvigorates their lives by placing them in an absolute horror of a situation. Luckily, the Fosters escape their captors and they start searching for the real Mr. and Mrs. Tripplehorns (played by James Franco and Mila Kunis).
It’s surprising that in a plot as implausible as this that Fey and Carell lend such realistic performances. It’s not hard to imagine that they’ve been married for years and this is the film’s main strength — it throws these ordinary characters into an idiosyncratic situation held together by semi-believable supporting characters and this makes for a charming film that though it is not laugh-out-loud hilarious, is still funny.
“Date Night” also mixes into entertaining action sequences and the chemistry between all the characters mix in nicely in these scenes.
Levy’s latest could have been much better. Though it has some dry humor and a couple of weak performances (especially from Mark Wahlberg), it also sports one of the most charismatic on-screen couples in a long time and this alone makes “Date Night,” a pleasurable viewing experience for any night out on the town.
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