Steve Carell and Tina Fey play a frustrated married couple in the new comedy, "Date Night."
When a director is working with two talented comedians like them, it would be nearly impossible to make a bad movie.
And the two TV stars ARE the best thing about "Date Night," playing a suburban couple so stressed out by the demands of their jobs and the pressure of raising two young children that they are almost too tired to go out for some fun.
Much against her wishes, they show up late at an exclusive Manhattan restaurant without a reservation. Steve gives his best effort with the host. "My wife and I are on a date," he says. "We were hoping to get here earlier and actually get a table." The host gives the pair a contemptuous smile and answers, "Didn't quite make it, did you?"
Dismissed to the bar, Steve claims that he and his wife are the Tripplehorns when that couple doesn't show up for their reservation.
That turns out to be big mistake, because before you can say "date night" they are escorted into an alley by thugs who threaten their lives if they don't produce a certain flash drive that is being used to blackmail a district attorney.
It's an obvious case of mistaken identity taken to ridiculous extremes. Soon the hapless pair are running for their lives, carrying a rowboat over their heads in Central Park. "We're going to die," Steve wails. Tina's response? "I don't want the kids to live with your mother. She's awful!"
Of course, these lovable losers will not be killed. Instead, they race to safety in maybe the silliest car chase scene I've ever seen in a movie, most of which takes place after a taxicab gets stuck on the grill of their "borrowed" vehicle.
The plot of "Date Night" is a flimsy excuse for a story, but it almost doesn't matter, because the characters and the dialogue are what's funny.
"I think I know someone who could help," Tina tells her clueless husband.
"I can't believe that out of hundreds of clients you can remember this one guy," he replies.
"Well," she tells him, "I've always been good with names and faces." Just then the door they're knocking on opens, to reveal a shirtless, well muscled Mark Wahlberg.
"Date Night" isn't great comedy, but there are enough laughs to make it worth seeing.
Another example: when the couple finally locates the sleazy, blackmailing Tripplehorns, Tina explains the situation. "We didn't have a reservation, so we took yours and now they think that we're you."
"You just took our reservations?" says James Franco as Mr. Tripplehorn.
"What kind of people are you?" adds his wife played by Mila Kunis.