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Quint wants out of DATE NIGHT!

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. I was surprised to get an invitation to the press screening of a Fox movie. For some reason Tom Rothman doesn’t like us much over here… I’m sure it has nothing to do with the multiple anti-Rothman editorials pleading to the Fox shareholders to give him the boot and save the studio from mediocrity, right? But I like watching movies, especially movies with promise and from the TV spots I thought there was a shot that Steve Carell and Tina Fey’s chemistry was gonna work. Sure, the premise is slight (a married couple go out on a date, get mistaken for blackmailers and run for their lives), but so are the plots to many similar comedies… The Out-of-Towners comes to mind (the original Arthur Hiller movie with Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, not the remake with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn). I tweeted this while walking to my car after the credits rolled on Date Night:
Date Night is a miracle. Unfortunately the miracle is Fox invited me to a press screening. The movie itself is bland and lifeless.
The responses I got where of the “what the hell did you expect from a Shawn Levy movie?” variety. But I’m the one guy that rolled with NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM… The first one. And not that I even think it’s a great, misunderstood film, but I loved seeing Dick Van Dyke and Mickey Rooney onscreen again and to the degree that they are in the flick. Maybe if I was going into the movie thinking “Shawn Levy, Shawn Levy, Shawn Levy” I would have liked it more, but I went in as someone who watches The Office and 30 Rock every week and seeing those two leads collide was interesting to me. Which is probably why the movie is going to do a lot of box office… plus it’s passable as a big studio comedy, so audience members not demanding anything more than a nice, air-conditioned theater and faces on the screen they recognize for their $10 might leave in a little bit better mood than I did… But I guarantee for the vast majority of them the film will be out their mind by the time they get back home and it will probably stay that way until they stumble across the movie on cable one late, boring night. Call me crazy, but this could have been a good movie. Both Tina Fey and Steve Carell are at their peaks right now and they should have amazing chemistry. There are glimpses in the film where you can see that chemistry overcoming some shoddy, slapped together direction and awkward pacing, but those moments aren’t enough to save the film. Not even close. Surprisingly the best scene in the movie is a serious one. Most of the comedy felt forced, like they just printed on a rehearsal and ignored the actual take, but there’s one moment that came across as genuinely sweet to me. Carell and Fey are a couple that have grown comfortable… too comfortable. The spark has left the marriage. They might love each other, but they’re not in love with each other. They have friends who just broke off their marriage (played in a one-scene cameo by Mark Ruffalo and Kristen Wiig) because they just became “awesome roommates.” This thought hangs over their forced date night and even while being chased by corrupt cops and searching for ways to clear their name their relationship is still obviously on their minds. At one point they have a conversation where all comedy is dropped and it’s an honest “that’s not us, is it?” conversation. They both seem to be more scared that they might be drifting apart than they are of the men chasing them. For one moment Fey and Carell were real people; scared and vulnerable, but still comfortable with each other, the sense of humor that brought them together as a couple comforting them. If those two had been the ones in the rest of the movie I’d be writing a different review. I don’t know who’s to blame, but scenes just don’t cut together. The whole thing feels shallow, lacking any kind of layering that even straight up comedies like SuperBad have. There are jokes within jokes, call-backs and real emotion all intertwined in those films which aren’t present here. And like I said above, the filmmaking is just shoddy. There’s going to be a high continuity error list on this one, I can tell. Know how I can tell? I usually don’t pick up on that stuff up on first viewing and here the problems were so glaring that they jumped right out at me. There’s a conversation early on between Fey and Carell where Fey changes position and eye-line every single time it cuts from a two-shot to an over-the-shoulder. Maybe that shit’s in every movie, but if that’s true then the reason I noticed it so much in this one is because I wasn’t interested in what the characters were doing, I wasn’t invested and I latched on to the crazy continuity errors instead of the story. I guess the reason I was so disappointed with this movie was because it should have been better. It’s not a horrendous movie or an insulting movie, it’s just a shallow, bleh movie that always has one foot on either side of mediocrity. With the talent in front of the camera it should have been better. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

Readers Talkback
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  • April 9, 2010, 5:06 a.m. CST



    but steve carell at his peak right now? no chance

  • April 9, 2010, 5:15 a.m. CST

    I actually gave it a positive review


    At - granted, it's not anything spectacular, but I found it funny and entertaining. The car chase alone is worth the price of admission. There is something awkward about Carell and Fey, but I still laughed pretty consistently, and had fun with it. I think Quint makes valid points, but I must have been in a much more forgiving mood when I saw it. Surprisingly, most of the Dallas critics seemed to like it too.

  • April 9, 2010, 5:15 a.m. CST

    You liked Night at the Museum?

    by hst666

    I agree that the only parts of that movie that did not make me want to gouge my eyes out were the parts with DVD and Rooney, but still.<p><p>The reviews I have seen for this movie have generally been good. I'll have to investigate a little more.

  • April 9, 2010, 5:26 a.m. CST


    by theDannerDaliel

  • April 9, 2010, 5:29 a.m. CST

    Haha Quint after this dont expect a new invitation

    by ominus

    you only get lucky once

  • April 9, 2010, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Hmm. Tina Fey was on Jonathan Ross (UK, BBC)

    by V'Shael

    plugging the movie. She was funny enough, and Ross said it was funny. But then, he's always a bit sycophantic when the stars are in front of him. Less so when he's doing the movie reviews in isolation.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:14 a.m. CST

    It really looks awful.

    by JuanSanchez

    So does Dinner for Schmucks.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:16 a.m. CST

    And despite being married, Fey seems awful lesbiany to me

    by JuanSanchez

    That's why Carell and she look awkward.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:18 a.m. CST

    And it couldn't have waited because ...?

    by The StarWolf

    Ah a Twit. And the review couldn't have waited until you got home to write something more useful than two lines on that twit system because ...?

  • April 9, 2010, 6:20 a.m. CST

    I shudder to think...

    by The_Crimson_King

    that there are people who would be satisfied by "air-conditioned theater and faces on the screen they recognize", "DURRRR FACES ON THE SCREEN I RECOGNIZE! I HAPPY! HERP DERP"

  • April 9, 2010, 6:23 a.m. CST

    Perhaps it's the same editor who worked on SHUTTER ISLAND?

    by ISleptWithKathyBatesAndAllThatIGotWasThisStupidTalkbackName

    There's a scene in SI where a Leo is talking to a guy in a cell. The camera is behind the prisoner and he has his hand over his head. The camera cuts to Leo's perspective and the hand is down. It cuts back to the prisoner and the hand is up...<p>It drove me crazy. Why do these things not get picked up before they're released?

  • April 9, 2010, 6:46 a.m. CST

    The continuity stuff is usually spotted

    by JuanSanchez

    In the case that it could be fixed by using a different take but isn't - it means the incongruous take was better and they think it was worth keeping. Trust me - Schoonmaker noticed the deal in Shutter Island. Sounds like using a different take wouldn't have mattered in Date Night, though.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:48 a.m. CST

    Not surprised

    by Jack Burton

    The trailers were a lacking on this one. The humor seemed force. Disappointed though, I thought the great cast would make this an Adventures in Babysitting style caper.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:48 a.m. CST

    BTW - I watched the MST3K episode with The Beatnicks and...

    by JuanSanchez

    It featured the worst cuts ever. Not only did you feel a lot of them like a slap - their was little continuity. I guy could have a hand on someone's shoulder - cut to a closer shot and he doesn't. Hand on his head - cut and he doesn't. Just bad, but funny. Joel, Crow and Servo kept yelling "stop it!"

  • April 9, 2010, 7:25 a.m. CST


    by Big_Ern_McCracken

    Carrell and Fey are the most overrated comedic actors in this day and age.

  • April 9, 2010, 7:28 a.m. CST

    ROM COMs from Hollywood just seldom work

    by mojoman69

    the Rom Com genre is just about as dead as the musical. poor writing, poor chemistry and really lack of humor or anything endearing. there things do not add up to a successful comedy. I like Tina on TV, but she does not light up the screen. Carrell same, same. Some TV actors can make the transition to film, but frankly most cannot. It could have been worse, it could have had Jim (where did my career go?) Carrey in it.

  • April 9, 2010, 7:57 a.m. CST


    by Big_Ern_McCracken

    This should've been drivel for Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson.

  • April 9, 2010, 8:02 a.m. CST

    I like Carell and I love Fey

    by David Cloverfield

    This makes me a sad panda.

  • April 9, 2010, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Considering the final twist in Shutter Island...

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    ...maybe the continuity errors were *deliberate*.

  • April 9, 2010, 8:30 a.m. CST

    I loved Steve Carell...

    by jaysendee

    before he started playing every character as Michael Scott. Holding out hope for Dinner with Schmucks, though.

  • April 9, 2010, 8:33 a.m. CST

    "awesome roommates"

    by the new transported man

    Maaan, that's my situation with the girlie, awesome roommates indeed. Been together for 6.5 years, living together for like 4.5. We're as close as 2 people can get, but that something extra is definitely gone.

  • April 9, 2010, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Maybe they should have let Fey take a crack at the screenplay

    by BeerIcecream

    Mean Girls was good, and 30 Rock is enjoyable.

  • April 9, 2010, 9:06 a.m. CST

    I think Tina Fey is very sexy....

    by kgreene

    Am I losing my mind????

  • April 9, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Tina Fey

    by killianx

    She has never really made me laugh that hard. I think she is kinda overrated and got alot of Sunshine blown up her butt for making fun of Sarah Palin

  • April 9, 2010, 9:23 a.m. CST


    by Series7

    Reviews of DATE NIGHT PARTY IN THE USA! Also we've gotten TWO reviews of POST GRAD! I think again another Fox shit hole movie. <P> Yes negative mention of Pandorum, it didn't even show up on the DVD colum. Seriously what did that movie do to you? Sure its not amazing by any means, but its fucking good and solid. Its ALOT better then you think its going to be. <P> Just fucking odd.

  • April 9, 2010, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Also seriously

    by Series7

    Was this shot on a Flip Cam?

  • April 9, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST

    God seriously

    by Series7

    Who goes to the big screens for Fey and Carell? Everyone knows that even they realize they have an experation date STAMPED on their forehands and its coming up soon. So they may as well make as much cash up front as fast as possible.

  • April 9, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Its funny

    by Series7

    My wife didn't believe me that the one intern who does bits on Letterman is an actual actor. Then we saw the preview for this and he's in it, she still doesn't believe me.

  • April 9, 2010, 9:30 a.m. CST

    This site is so sweet it needs more reviews of Kick-Ass and less

    by MC_DLyte

    Quentin Tarantinos new movie Kick-Ass is so bad ass and I will tell you why

  • April 9, 2010, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Re: Continuity in Shutter Island

    by KingNineReturns

    Scorsese said in an interview that there were deliberately disorienting cuts in the film, a la 2001.

  • April 9, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST

    ...This review was shallow

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...Dont trust this review... no mention of Goblin jr, Jackie or Marky Mark?

  • April 9, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    shallow review?

    by awardgiver

    Sounds like it nailed it. Enough with the dumb New York fish out of water comedies. I've never watched 30 Rock, and now I won't give it a chance. I'd hate to see Tina Fey talking jive to Tracy Morgan. Morgan is painful enough without Tina playing the condescending yuppie bitch.

  • April 9, 2010, 11:08 a.m. CST


    by Johnnie Walker

    Everything about this movie looks thrown together. I knew the minute I saw the posters (one word in bold! how original) that those responsible should leave Hollywood and go work in a recycling center.

  • April 9, 2010, 11:10 a.m. CST

    ...Shallow review... Massas was better

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    ...And that is sayin somethin... cant wait for Capones

  • April 9, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Tina Fey versus Steve Carrell

    by frozen01

    I don't know, but in the clips Fey seemed so natural, while Carrell was really forced. Of course, as someone else mentioned, Carrell can't seem to play any role but Michael Scott, or what I call the "clueless overconfident douche" role. And here, I am of course referring to the fictional character of Michael Scott, and not my real-life boss Michael Scott, who is far from clueless, would have earned his overconfidence if he were, and is certainly not a douche.

  • April 9, 2010, 1:04 p.m. CST


    by Big_Ern_McCracken

    Does Fey actually retire those dopey nerd-chick glasses for the movie? That's probably her big stretch. I have a feeling that if I saw this movie, I would say something smarmy like, "I liked this movie better when it was called Blind Date!".

  • April 9, 2010, 1:05 p.m. CST


    by Big_Ern_McCracken

    I'm going to make a prediction that Carrell will go on to be the "go to guy" to host the Academy Awards a few years' down the road.

  • April 9, 2010, 6:56 p.m. CST

    "Lesbiany" - Greatest Adjective Ever!!

    by GoodTimeBobby

  • April 9, 2010, 8:01 p.m. CST


    by immortal_pirate

    this is the third review I've read on this site about this movie. My BF and I were gonna go see this flick next week...maybe to forget CLASH OF THE TITANS...seems DATE NIGHT has the same effect as CLASH did when we saw it: "It wasn't baaaad. But not something I'll see twice." Maybe we'll see something else...we shall see.

  • April 10, 2010, 8:31 a.m. CST

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  • April 10, 2010, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Date Rape

    by thegreatwhatzit

    Was raped admission money and time. Tedious li'l vanity project, bored stiff (girlfriend actually feel asleep). Tina Fey's 30 ROCK is a perpetual ratings loser so a non-existent audience is supposed to PAY to see her? Another NBC veteran, Zippy the Chimp, radiates more sex appeal. A 144th rerun of ABBOTT AND COSTELLO MEET THE MUMMY kindles more heat than DATE NIGHT.

  • April 11, 2010, 10:26 p.m. CST

    bring back amad or w

    by Superponte

    we are bored lol, need your lists to direct our viewing

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