Movie Review: Date Night
4 stars (out of 5)
By R. Kurt Osenlund
As a romantic action-comedy, “Date Night” is pretty routine stuff: Take a Regular Joe and a Regular Jane, drop them into an outrageously dangerous scenario, allow their ignorances and idiosyncrasies to gradually emerge as strengths, and see them outfox a batch of bad guys far more practiced in derring-do (trust me, I've spoiled nothing). But as a celebration of long-term relationships, from the magic to the inevitable monotony, this thoughtful outing is special and ridiculously sweet, enriching its sterile storyline with the adorable, believable isms of its lead couple, New Jersey suburbanites and parents of two Phil and Claire Foster. The Fosters are portrayed by America's must-see-TV sweethearts, Steve Carell and Tina Fey, who are so splendid together they made this reviewer cross his fingers in hopes of future collaborations.
With their full-time jobs compounded by parental duties, Phil, a tax consultant, and Claire, a realtor, are pretty pooped by the time the sun goes down. (“Here we go,” Phil says one morning after his son has torn off his nasal strip, begging for breakfast. “It begins,” Claire responds after getting a piledriver wake-up call from her daughter.) But, determined to keep at least a dash of spice in their marriage, the fatigued 40-somethings never miss their weekly date night, which usually involves swinging by the same local steakhouse, ordering the same potato skin appetizer, hurrying back to relieve the high school babysitter and going to bed without sex. The Fosters' best friends, Brad and Hayley Sullivan (Mark Ruffalo and Fey's former “SNL” co-star Kristen Wiig), found their relationship to be following a similar ho-hum procedure and are now splitting up.