MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
BLU-RAY EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) are a married couple who has had all the spark go out of their relationship. They vow to take some time for themselves and head into New York City one night for a date. After they steal another couple’s reservation at a trendy Manhattan restaurant, they soon find themselves the target of dirty cops trying to shake them down for a mysterious flash drive.
WHAT I LIKED
I like both Steve Carell and Tina Fey, so an affinity for both of their humor is a pre-requisite to enjoy “Date Night.” And for two NBC Thursday night stars who are the keystone of their own shows, both did a fine job sharing that spotlight.
Director Shawn Levy has taken quite a few critical hits over the years with films like the two “Night at the Museum” flicks, but I found those enjoyable for a family audience. Likewise, “Date Night” presents itself as a light, fluffy movie for the PG-13 crowd. It has plenty of silliness, but it doesn’t go too over the top in terms of zaniness of raunch.
Like many good comedies, what makes “Date Night” work isn’t just its stars but also the supporting cast. Mark Wahlberg, James Franco and Mila Kunis give scene-stealing performances. And for anyone who has been married for the better part of their adult life, you should be in on the joke of trying to bring some excitement back into your relationship.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
Most of the complaints I have about “Date Night” come from its rather standard mainstream attempt to be funny when the set-up doesn’t always work. It’s not pervasive in the film, but we find our characters in plenty of predicaments that are a little too unbelievable. It’s only the ability of Carell and Fey to work their comedy magic to make these moments bearable.
Aside from this, there is one overly awkward scene that overstays its welcome. If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll know the one I’m talking about… the scene in the strip club. Just write that one off as the jazz club scene from “Spider-Man 3,” and you should be good.
The Blu-ray comes as the Extended Edition, which doesn’t noticeably differ from the theatrical cut, save for a couple lines or spots here and there. If you want more of the funny moments, you’ll have to dig into the deleted, alternate and extended scenes, which are pretty decent and funny.
There’s an audio commentary by director Shawn Levy on the theatrical cut, plus featurettes that include “Directing 301” with Levy, “Disaster Dates” about the cast and crew’s worst dates and “Directing Off-Camera.”
Additional features include camera tests for Carell and Fey, a gag reel, fake promotional PSAs and BD-Live: Live Lookup via IMDb. The Blu-ray also comes bundled with a Digital Copy disc.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of the mainstream relationship comedy, and those who like Steve Carell and Tina Fey.