You would think that when a movie comes out that pairs up two of the funniest working people in Hollywood right now, you would have the makings of pure comedy gold. Somewhere during Date Night, starring Steve Carrel and Tina Fey, they went off the cliff and I'm guessing they never even realized they did. The film is a typical story, where the characters are placed in a situation they have no business being in and that's where the comedy comes from. In this case it's a painfully average New Jersey couple who go into Manhattan for...you guessed it...date night and end up getting involved in a mafia blackmail scandal. Now, I consider The Office and 30 Rock two of the funniest shows on TV right now and when I saw that the stars of those shows would be in a movie together, I became very excited about it. I should have done my homework on it and I would have eased back on that excitement throttle. Carell and Fey are very, very talented writers who excel at scripting out the obsurb and impossible story and making it hiliarious; BUT they didn't write this. The movie was written by a guy named Josh Klausner, who's only other work is the absolutely horrible Shrek the Third. To make matters worse, Date Night was directed by Shawn Levy who many film fans consider to be the go-to guy for hacky comedies that are piss poor at best. (I personally liked the Night at the Museum movies but many consider them to be among his many, many failures.) So behind Date Night you've got not a creative dream team but actually more of a creative nightmare team. Even when you saturate the movie with amusing cameos like Ray Liotta (Goodfellas), William Fictner (The Dark Knight), Oscar-nominated Taraji Henson (Benjamin Button), James Franco (Spiderman) and many more, they STILL couldn't land a solid dismount on a joke. And the saddest part of the whole thing to me was that they clearly thought they were making something awesome given the evidence in the form of outtakes displayed at the end of the movie. They're cracking each other up on that set and, sadly, that stuff that made it on the cutting room floor was some of the best stuff in the movie. The story is horrible, the acting seems bland and besides the occational chuckle it wrenched out of me, it was a sorry excuse for a comedy. Remember that that's coming from a HUGE fan of Carell and Fey. I sat in the theater patiently and waited the entire 88 minutes for it to get funny and it never did. I think that understanding like that could only come from a fan of those two and anybody else would've walked out. The movie couldn't even fill the standard hour and a half of entertainment but I still looked at my watch twice because I thought the movie was a 4 hour epic. The only way I could or would recommend this movie as your date night entertainment would be if you were looking to break up and were too chicken to do it. If you pick this movie and pretend to laugh your ass off the entire way through, they'll leave you on the spot because I couldn't imagine anyone staying with somebody with judgement that bad.
Date Night (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: D+