Date Night

Steve Carrell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, an ordinary couple bored with their own ordinariness. To spice things up a little, they decide to go out to a flash restaurant—the kind that requires booking months in advance. When another couple, the Tripplehorns, fail to show for the table they reserved, the Fosters seize the opportunity and pretend to be the Tripplehorns. Only problem is, a mobster’s two hired goons, played by Jimmi Simpson (Zodiac; the hilarious recurring character “Lyle the Intern” from The Late Show with David Letterman) and the rapper Common, assume that the Fosters are the Tripplehorns—this is a problem because the latter couple are supposedly in possession of A Very Important usb Stick.

A cross-town chase ensues which involves temporarily stealing a sports car from a continually shirtless Mark Wahlberg, racing it through Manhattan and crashing it into a taxi, and then dumping it in the Hudson River. An expansive supporting cast is relegated to tooling around in the wings: James Franco & Mila Kunis; Kristen Wiig; Mark Ruffalo; Leighton Meester; Taraji P. Henson, and J.B. Smoove, best known for his role as Leon on hbo’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. But none of them really gets to flex their comedic muscle, except for the last, who plays an easily-annoyed taxi driver and yells “This is some bull-shit!”—a line Leon often says to Larry David. The improvisational skills of the two leads—so evident and crucial to the success of both The Office and 30 Rock—show through only rarely, and are only at full blast in the B-roll and outtakes that play over the closing titles. Hampered by slap-dash editing and a dull-as-ditchwater script that renders invisible the natural comedic talents of a wide range of actors, Date Night is not a film you’d call the next day.

Man, everything is better in Italy — even the titles of crappy movies!

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