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Date Night

Based on the previews alone, Date Night appears to be one of those comedies that could either be absolutely awful or simply OK. It's got quite a talented cast, that's granted, but actors alone don't make a good film. However, after actually seeing the film with a few friends, I was surprised to find that I actually really liked the film. It's no masterpiece, but it certainly ranks with films like The Hangover as a 'sleeper-hit' comedy.

The film follows your typical American parents, Phil and Claire Foster. The two live relatively uneventful lives with their children, with very few chances at intimacy or any form of romance. The only exception to this lack of romance would be "date night" - the night when both of the parents go for a small get-together at some local restaurant. After seeing mutual friends going through a divorce, though, the two decide to go all-out on their next date night, which is supposed to take place at a very high-brow restaurant. What starts out normally, however, suddenly snowballs after the couple steal a reservation at the said restaurant.

Surprisingly, this comedy's very character-driven. Instead of relying on frantic energy and low-brow humor, the film's more concerned with the main characters and the situations they get themselves into. It may sound simple, but this is the formula that most good comedies are *supposed* to follow. We don't need a series of wacky events to enjoy a comedy; we simply need funny characters that can react to their background. That said, I really enjoyed the characters played by the immensely talented Steve Carell and Tina Fey. These two definitely know comedy, as various episodes of SNL or The Office show, so it was a wise decision on the director's part to allow these two to have so much creative control. These characters don't seem like the type to be in a screwball-comedy, so their bewilderment really brings a lot of laughs to the table.

Part of what makes Date Night so enjoyable is the fact of how involving the film is. The story seems to be a manic and convoluted mystery, but we're so involved with what's going on that, after a while, we really don't care whether or not the film's implausible. Yes, some scenes may seem far-fetched and some may even seem too formulaic, but these things come with the territory of the genre. This film should be a good lesson for mainstream comedies - we don't need bizarre event after bizarre event for something to be funny.

The other elements of the film are pretty great as well. I don't really focus on visuals during a comedy, for instance, but this movie looks really good. It's slick, it's smooth, and the camerawork is really commendable. The visuals aren't groundbreaking, that's for sure, but they're certainly quite nice. Also, I found the film's pacing to be fantastic. The film virtually never misses a beat with its comedic-style. Even when it does, though, the next punchline's almost certainly going to make up for that.

If I have any complaints about the film, it's that it could sometimes be too formulaic, and some of the supporting cast weren't nearly as interesting as our leading characters. Other than that, though, Date Night is a fun comedy with a great sense of humor. It's not fantastic or flawless, but it certainly is entertaining.





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