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Tina Fey and Steve Carell bring their comedic A-game to Date Night

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Watching Tina Fey and Steve Carell play off each other’s comic timing in the new comedy Date Night  had to be one the funniest comedy Tina Fey and Steve Carell in "Date Night."experiences in some time. Sure, both are talented on their own terms, but who knew there would so much snap, crackle, and pop between the two TV thesps.

Date Night is not about plot. It runs about 85 minutes in length, a smart move made by all talent involved. The filmmakers clearly acknowledged their limits with the material and let Carell and Fey run wild. That said, the very slim story involves the married Phil and Claire Foster who attempt an intimate night out in New York, desperately needing an escape from their unbearably dull lives.

Of course, when they arrive at a snooty Manhattan restaurant (They answer the phone with “Your Welcome”, instead of “Hello”), there are no reservations available. Seeing an opportunity to live on the wild side, Phil (Carell) takes another party’s reservation, the Tripplehorns, seemingly solving the problem. All is fine and great, until two corrupt cops crash the dinner looking for the Tripplehorns, leading to a dangerous case of mistaken identity. The rest of the film sends our two stars on a semi-wacky series of adventures through Manhattan. There’s a high-octane car chase, a sex scandal, a strip club sequence, and a gunfight among other things. None of it is remotely tense however. The film is far too self aware for anyone to buy for a second that our hero and heroine are in danger.

None of that matters in the end anyway. The chemistry is brilliant between Fey and Carell, and they keep the laughs coming the whole way through. She is quick witted and dry to a fault. He revels in the kind of silly, spastic humor that would never work coming out of any other actor. Together they cover the comedy spectrum. As for the caliber of the laughs, they are not of the belly variety but very sharp and in quick clips. Whether that’s due to the script or great improv, the result is very successful. Also surprising are some of the moments from the supporting cast. Mark Wahlberg  delivers a funny segment as a real estate client of Claire’s, one who seems to forget how to wear a shirt, much to Phil’s dismay. There’s another great scene with Mila Kunis and James Franco  as two white trash junkies who make a cameo appearance late in the game.

As Date Night breezes its way to the final act, there’s a noticeable air of sweetness that accompanies this enjoyable experience. Overall, it is an above average comedy that works exactly on the level it’s intended to (Despite the fact that this same director that gave us Cheaper by the Dozen-Shawn Levy). Oh, and if is there was an award for a movie that actually features funny outtakes during the end credits, this one would certainly win it.

B+

Contact Jim Teti at jteti@philly2philly.com

Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox