Published Apr 08, 2010With a title like Date Night, a simple message assaults the subconscious: Don't worry, no Greenberg-style difficulty here, just broad humour and the television stars you love. Have an I.Q. of 70? All the better! Don't forget to bring a date.
It's a safe bet that Steve Carell and Tina Fey's chemistry and wit could carry any film, even if Carrell's appeal is stretched thin by his increasingly familiar shtick. In the opening minutes, a few soft attempts at satire offer an incisive look at a marriage gone stale, but this soon gives way to the bouncy bass line of action-comedy mediocrity. In a case of mistaken identity, the parental protagonists run afoul of mobsters, dirty cops and a sleazy Spitzer of a governor. Every turn reminds us how normal the couple are. Constant sarcasm is all they seem to need or value. And real world parents wonder why their kids are such sarcastic jerks.
Mark Wahlberg as a sexy Black Ops agent, James Franco as another dopey criminal and J.B. Smoove from Curb Your Enthusiasm effectively pinch-hit in small roles. Fey pining over Wahlberg's sex appeal is the high-water mark. There are enough laughs, but no more than an average 30 Rock or The Office rerun, which thrive on idiosyncratic writing rather than tired convention.
The suburban lifestyle satirized early is eventually reinforced as strippers are stereotyped and there's even a running anti-literature joke. I'd rather sit in a strip club with a good book than endure this populist pabulum anytime.
Otherwise, there's nothing to complain or care about. It's not quite worth downloading illegally now that Rogers has cracked down on bandwidth. Watch it on cable in two years. In the meantime, there are real films you could see in a cinema. (Fox)