Date Night Directed by: Shawn Levy Written by: Josh Klausner Starring: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, and Tariji P. Henson
Modern comedy is often found in the silence, not the punchline. It’s usually the uttering of a few colorful adjectives followed by an awkward stammer or glare. When done right, on TV shows like The Office and 30 Rock, it is hilarious. Date Night plucks its two stars from those two modern TV milestones to try and inject a little bit of comedic energy into a script much in need of it.
Steve Carell and Tina Fey play Phil and Claire Foster, a self-proclaimed boring suburban couple. They are comatose, floating around like a slapstick version of the Burnham family from American Beauty. Then, thanks to some blatant plot doctoring, they are forced on a life-or-death journey into a New York that is oozing with corruption and filled with vermin played by famous actors.
Over the past few years, the awkward male side character has made a comeback in the movies. What started as an obscure indie thing, most prominently in Juno, has since infiltrated mainstream cinema and in fact become mainstream cinema.
It was a hopeless novelty, off-beat and charming at first, now bothersome and annoying. It seems as though every movie needs to have that character that walks into the room and makes an awkward grunt or a side-splitting out of place comment that’s supposed to be hilarious. The trouble is, it isn’t.
What seems to be happening is that writers now think just because a character is awkward and says random things, this makes them funny. Lines like “Hold on a second, I’m on my hamburger phone,” have replaced actual punch-lines. The very notion that the phone is a hamburger is supposed to be funny, so it’s not necessary to include a joke about it.