Monday, 23 July 2012

Date Night

I'll be blunt, I'd never heard of Tina Fey before this film. So, I'll base my opening paragraph on Steve Carrell. Now, comedy-wise, two films stand out to me. These are Anchorman and Get Smart. Honestly, I hated Anchorman. I only laughed once (if that) and I just can't understand why it is labelled as "the funniest film of all time". It simply isn't. Get Smart, on the other hand, I really like. It's simple, brain-dead comedy that rarely fails, and it is consistently funny. It's brilliant. So, with "Date Night" I have a third entry to add to the rankings. Can it match either of the previously mentioned films, or will it fall somewhere in between? 

"Date Night" follows married couple Phil and Claire Foster (Carrell and Fey). Each Thursday, they go out for Date Night at the same restaurant. However, after their friends split up, Phil decides to take Claire to a fancy restaurant in the city. They are rejected a table, so they steal some-ones reservation. A little white like can't hurt, right? Wrong. The table belonged to people who have taken a flash drive off of some very important people, and they'll stop at nothing to get it back. Obviously, Phil and Claire are confused for these people, and they have guns turned on them instead. Can they come up with a plan to make their freedom? 

I'll get straight to the point; "Date Night" is very funny. It's not one of those films where they chuck in as much swearing as possible for laughs (I'm looking at you, hangover 2). Instead, it's more of a slapstick, action comedy. Which is similar to Get Smart, just not as funny. And, as you can tell from the 70% rating at the top of the review, it does have its flaws. I'll get onto them later; firstly, here are the good points. 

The acting is fairly solid all-round. Carrell never misses a trick, and him and Fey have fantastic chemistry in both romantic and action scenes. They really, really suit each other. The supporting cast can't live up to them, but they're by no means bad. Mila Kunis pops in briefly for a very funny role, alongside James Franco (meh). Another notable cast member is Mark Wahlberg, who gathers a few laughs, although most of them are when he is being talked about, but he plays his part well. 

I have to praise the comedy as well. "Date Night" is a very funny film, after about half an hour. Carrell carries a lot of jokes (slapstick, innuendo, smart lines, you name it!), and they never feel forced. All of the jokes are natural. The only joke that failed for me was the pole dancing at the end. Started funny, dragged very quickly. 

One moment in particular I have to praise takes place in the middle of a busy city street. Phil and Claire, speeding in a stolen car, crash front on into a taxi. This causes the cars to become lodged together, facing each other. The guy in the taxi won't take his foot off the brake, making it hard for Claire to drive, so Phil climbs across the cars to get into the taxi. It all results in an even bigger crash and this is by far the best scene in the film. It really is pure comic gold. 

But, it's not all perfect. As I mentioned earlier, "Date Night" takes its time to get going. The first half an hour is very slow, with only a few mildly funny one-liners popping up. But, as soon as Phil whacks a guy over the head with an oar, and they steal a very slow boat, it shines. I also thought it came with a few too many soppy moments. It's an American comedy, so it's allowed one or two, but I counted at least four, and they just stop the film dead. Don't get me wrong, it doesn't make it a bad film, it just lessens the overall effect. It's also a bit short, which is sort of a good thing. They'd have run out of jokes if it was any longer. 

That's it really, not much else to say. Carrell and Fey are brilliant together, and they brighten up the dull patches, and once it gets into it, it's a very funny film. It's a little inconsistent, but it's pure entertainment. In fact, it's exactly what a small, insignificant comedy should be; great while it lasts, but entirely forgettable, and there's absolutely no need to watch it again. 

To Summarise: With great performances from Carrell and Fey, "Date Night" is just about funny enough to make it through its lean running time, even if it is a little patchy.

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