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Date Night


Stars: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Taraji P Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Bill Burr, Ray Liotta, William Fichtner, Common, Kristen Wiig, Jon Bernthal, Ari Graynor, Mark Ruffalo

Director: Shawn Levy

I really wanted to like this one more than I did. It's a been a long time since we had a decent comedy-thriller and there are times when this comes satisfying close to movies like Foul Play. In the end, though, Carell and Fey, though equally talented, are just too similar as the much-pursued Fosters, each doing comparable schtick at the same time. In fact, they're so busy wisecracking that it's hard to believe in them as a couple.

Stuck in a rut with two petulant kids and neighbours who are about to split up, the Fosters from New Jersey, he a tax lawyer, she a realtor, go out on a special date at an uptown restaurant, where they are unable to get a table (didn't they try to book?) but jump on to another reservation when the couple fails to show. That's the big mistake. The missing couple (Franco, Kunis) are blackmailing scam artists and two crooked detectives (Simpson, Burr) want what they have - and believe the Fosters have it.

Cue a flight through the New York night where their only allies seem to be a muscular security expert (Wahlberg) and a detective (Henson) who suspects at least two of her colleagues may be in the pay of mob boss Liotta. Then there's the DA (Fichtner) who seems to have a key role in it all.

With a little more action and inter-relating and a bit less tomfoolery, this could have been an exciting romp in a classic tradition, even if the language is just rude enough to get the film a 15 certificate. But what are Liotta and Ruffalo doing to their careers with roles that barely exist?

David Quinlan

USA 2010. UK Distributor: 20th Century Fox. Colour by deluxe.
88 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 17 Apr 2010