Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Video review: "Date Night"
By my count, "Date Night" has about five or six decent laughs in it. Most of these are throwaway jokes, fleeting in their amusements. So the question you have to ask is, is it worth sitting through 1½ hours of stale comedy in order to get to those sporadic chuckles?
My answer is no, but maybe you have a higher tolerance for mediocrity.
What's most disappointing about this lame comedy is that its two stars, Tina Fey and Steve Carell, are some of the sharpest comedic tools we have in the shed these days. But their talent for funny television ("30 Rock" and "The Office," respectively) has translated into uneven careers at the movies.
Here they play Claire and Phil Foster, a middle-aged, middle-class couple struggling to stay connected with each other amid the hectic distractions of jobs and kids. Their solution is a magic date night in New York City to wash away their troubles.
Unfortunately, some criminals confuse them with another couple, resulting in a night on the run from both hoods and cops, and a bunch of encounters with strange people. Mark Wahlberg shows up as a helpful security expert with a one-joke spiel about never wearing a shirt.
It's an idiot plot based on mistaken identity, complete with a classic MacGuffin: A computer memory card that contains the key to ... something important.
Let's put it this way: If "Date Night" were somebody's first date, I doubt there'd be a second.
Video extras for "Date Night" continue a disturbing trend I've noticed lately: Good movies arriving with a paucity of goodies ("Avatar"), while the drek comes with loads of features ("The Book of Eli").
The DVD version has an audio commentary by director Shawn Levy, an extended car chase, scene, gag reels, public service announcements and a couple of featurettes about Levy directing the film.
In addition to these, the Blu-ray has several deleted and extended scenes, Fey and Carell's camera tests, snippets of the cast reflecting on disaster dates from their real lives, and a digital copy of the film.
Movie: 2 stars out of four
Extras: 3.5 stars