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Date Night

(No longer in theaters)
  • Rating: PG-13 — for sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference
  • Director: Shawn Levy   Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson
  • Running Time: 88 minutes
  • Reader Rating: Write a Review




Shawn Levy


20th Century Fox

Release Date

Apr 9, 2010

Release Notes


Official Website


As she proved in her Sarah Palin impersonations, Tina Fey has a gift for charting the continuum between vanity and insanity. On the posters for Date Night, she stands beside Steve Carell in a gauzy blue party dress spattered with mud, her hair splayed out—but with her right hand she’s smoothing the ends in a cool, sexy way. That’s what she does brilliantly: the teensy neurotic (or obsessive-compulsive) gesture that’s totally at odds with what’s happening in the moment.

The movies haven’t done her justice—but then, movies are the lesser medium for Fey and Carell. They’re the stars of two relatively sophisticated, media-savvy network sitcoms, yet their big-screen comedies are retro. The premise of Date Night is more than serviceable: The old North by Northwest mistaken-identity nightmare plunges a New Jersey couple into a netherworld of corrupt cops and gangsters. In three or four scenes, they get a rhythm going, but the editing is smash-and-bash. Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, the Pink Panther remake) is not a director who honors performers’ rhythms.

There are great TV comedians who aim high in movies. Ricky Gervais, who created the Office role that Carell Americanized, made the daringly irreverent The Invention of Lying. Will Ferrell hit dizzying slapstick heights in Step Brothers. I’m not sure Carell and Fey are, as clowns, in their (tip-top) league, but if they keep making tepid throwaways with directors like Levy, how will we—and they—ever know?