Out of habit, I still watch Tina Fey in 30 Rock and Steve Carell in The Office every week, even though I do not particularly like the shows anymore. Both started out as a fresh, humorous takes on usual suspects, corporations and the average American work place. Regrettably, each has turned predictable, which also ends up describing Fey and Carell's latest comedic attempt.
In Date Night, the TV stars play Claire and Phil Foster, a "boring couple from New Jersey" whose life turns exciting for one night during a disastrous date. The film might initially interest CT readers because of its family-friendly comedy and strong marriage themes. It opened last weekend to mixed reviews but still raked in $25.2 million at the box office. Perhaps my expectations were too high because of Fey and Carell's mere presence in the film, a likely draw for others as well. I was also eager to see a film that depicted a strong marriage, instead of the predictable "chick flick" as seen in films based on Nicholas Sparks novels. This isn't the usual love story challenged by cancer, but the themes seem conventional nonetheless.
Playing into the stereotype of the mundane marriage, Fey and Carell go through the humdrum parts of life: feeding the kids, going to work, as Fey puts her mouth guard on before bed. Each date night, for instance, consists of salmon and potato skins. We are set up to believe the couple has marital woes to confront as they watch friends go through a divorce; they've become "the most excellent roommates," but nothing more.
One night, though, Carell takes Fey into Manhattan to a fancy restaurant to invigorate their marriage. The movie contains some charming moments, like when the actors look over at people at tables and make up their ...1
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