Date Night, directed by Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum), is a surprisingly funny film. More often than not, you can determine the quality of a film by the time you finish watching its trailer. This movie was a nice wake-up call that what you see isn’t always what you get.
Steve Carell and Tiny Fey have an unexpected amount of on-screen chemistry. This affinity is most evident in a clever dining scene in the beginning of the film, during which they each ad-lib other restaurant patrons’ conversations (be sure to stay in your seats during the credits for several hilarious out-takes of this scene). Carell and Fey genuinely feel like a couple in a bit of a slump in their marriage. Romantic comedies are often guilty of betraying a stunning lack of subtlety when it comes to heartfelt dialogue, but not in this case. The way they work through it during the countless shenanigans of their date night never comes across as trite or clichéd.
I was surprised the type of humor varied quite a bit during this film. Each of us have a different type of funny bone, so while some jokes fell relatively flat on me personally, these same moments were met with a good amount of laughter from others in the theater. Don’t come into this movie expecting a singular form of comedy. Visual humor, situational comedy, unexpected irony, running gags (involving Mark Wahlberg), and several obviously bad jokes told with fearless gusto pushed this movie to unanticipated levels of laughter.
After a few questionable plot events, the ending was something of a deus ex machina. The writer, Josh Klausner, ended up working the implausibility into the story nicely for a decent finish to a funny film.
Three and a half stars out of five.