The power-comedy matchup of Tina Fey and Steve Carell in Date Night almost seems too good to be true, and I genuinely feared that the action-packed plot wouldn't utilize them appropriately. Would the mistaken-identity story serve as a mere excuse to get two of TV's biggest stars together — or worse, would Fey and Carell be watered-down versions of their small screen personas?
Answer: Absolutely not. Fey and Carell utterly succeed as Claire and Phil Foster, a worn-out married couple trying to put some excitement back into their lives. The stars align for every important element: their chemistry is convincing (both romantically and as comedic sparring partners), the script is fresh, and the story moves along quickly enough. The set-up stumbles a little in its inception, but once the characters move past the introduction of danger, it's a free-for-all of humor and adventure.
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Besides its two perfectly-cast leads, the movie's other great feature is its large, varied cast of characters. Mark Wahlberg gets into the mix as a hot former client of Claire's who refuses to put a shirt on, James Franco and Mila Kunis are murderously funny as the strung-out couple the Fosters are mistaken for, and even bit characters like a restaurant host and a terrified cab driver almost steal scenes from the main stars. But no one really does — Fey and Carell are simply impossible to upstage.
What makes them so accessible seems to be their relatability — even if you're not married, the realistic relationship woes ring true. Essentially, the night-out caper is a subtle metaphor for their marriage — we're not just rooting for them to survive, we're rooting for this everyday relationship to survive.
But before I go too deep, all you need to know is that Date Night is a crowd-pleasing, hilarious romp. It's corny, but the title says it best — go see it for your next date night.