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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Date Night

Tina Fey and Steve Carell are two of the most charming performers in entertainment today. Their goofy attractiveness makes them a perfect couple in Date Night: an unremarkable husband and wife from New Jersey, they get mistaken for crooks in Manhattan, sending them on a wild night replete with snooty wait staff, crooked cops, glitter-specked strippers, a shirtless superspy (Mark Wahlberg, as buff as ever), and a preposterous car chase. The movie makes no effort to be remotely plausible and the last third really goes off the rails, and it would probably be better served by less familiar faces in minor roles (bit parts are played by Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, Common, James Franco, Mila Kunis, William Fichtner, and Ray Liotta). It's disappointing that the dialogue doesn't crackle the way it does on 30 Rock or The Office. But Fey and Carell carry the movie along through sheer nerdy pluck. Rarely does a couple in a movie seem genuinely devoted to each other, not out of wild passion, but for all the things that a real marriage is built on: patience, shared humor, a willingness to deal with day-to-day annoyances, and simple affection. Fey and Carell seem like a couple you'd actually enjoy going out to dinner with. In today's world, that's more romantic than sunsets and bouquets of roses. --Bret Fetzer

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