Review: Date Night

* * * out of four stars

Plenty of mayhem and crazy hijinks happen in “Date Night,” the new movie that brilliantly pairs “The Office’s” Steve Carell with “30 Rock’s” Tina Fey. The two are probably the funniest people on television right now, and together they make for the perfectly hilarious duo.

They play Phil and Claire Foster, a boring New Jersey couple so bogged down with work and kids that they barely have any time for each other. Once a week, they drag themselves out of their busy lives to go on a date, where they eat the same food at the same restaurant and barely manage to make conversation. Finally, Phil has had enough monotony, and out of fear of losing the marriage out of boredom, he drags Claire to a fancy restaurant in New York, stealing a reservation for a couple called the Tripplehorns (who don’t show up), and finally having a fancy night to themselves.

That is, at first. Their dinner is interrupted by two thugs looking for the Tripplehorns. They don’t believe the Fosters’ story, and when they demand the Fosters turn over a flash drive that belongs to a mobster (Ray Liotta, in an uncredited role) or else, the Fosters quickly panic and improvise. This leads to a huge chase through New York City as the Fosters try to figure out who the real Tripplehorns are and how they can get the flash drive and clear their names.

It seems like the past year or so, gross-out comedies like “The Hangover” and “Hot Tub Time Machine” have fared much better than the old-fashioned kind. “Date Night” puts a stop to this. It’s a very funny ride which relies not on the gross-out factor, but on the well-written screenplay and compatibility of its leading couple. Carell and Fey have never been funnier. The script by Josh Klausner is very smart and feels like it was written specifically for Carell and Fey.

The supporting cast is also impressive, consisting of William Fichtner, James Franco, Common, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo and Mark Wahlberg in an unforgettable role. As a plus, “Date Night” gives you one more good reason to see it in theaters: it makes for the perfect date movie.

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