Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 Date of Mind
I thought I'd take a little break from writing this week's 24 recap to post here. I've just spent way too much time watching and thinking about unlikely adventures that drag characters around New York City in pursuit of unlikely items, having unlikely interactions with even more unlikely people as a result of even more deeply unlikely decisions. But enough about Date Night.
No, actually, not enough about Date Night. I went in expecting a mash-up of After Hours and The Out-Of-Towners and ended up with a misguided, undercooked, crock-pot mishmash of North by Northwest, Mission Impossible, NBC Thursdays, Enemy of the State, and bad things.
As I said to Chao when the credits rolled, "That movie was really lucky it had Steve Carell and Tina Fey in it." Because honestly, the only thing I believed in the whole thing was their relationship. I appreciated how they're always tired and worn out, all but dragging themselves from one day to the next, but still making an effort for each other. My favorite part is how Tina Fey gets all dressed up, and you expect her husband not to notice and her to be crushed, like every other TV and movie couple ever. But instead he takes one look at her and steps right up in a big way. Aaand now we're rooting for them.
Which, unfortunately, is where the trouble begins, in more ways than one. I don't just mean how Phil and Claire end up entangled in all manner of imbroglio, but how the whole enterprise spins off into implausibility. When they're in Times Square trying to figure out what to do, because the mob's after them for a MacGuffin they know nothing about and the cops are dirty, most people would be like, okay, where's the FBI Field Office? End of movie. But then they decided to find the MacGuffin themselves and I was like, "Okay, I'm out. Everything that happens to you two from now on is your own damn fault." And as for the rest of what happened to them, I didn't believe any of that either.
That includes the whole conjoined car chase scene, none of which made a lick of sense; Mark Wahlberg's home office out of Minority Report; Phil's master plan to get them out of trouble with everyone at the end; that dance sequence that had to walk a line between funny and convincing and ended up missing both.
But this isn't to say there aren't funny bits. The part where they go back to the restaurant and deal with the rude staff by being even ruder is good, and the bit with the boat, and…okay, I've officially been sitting here too long trying to think of another one. The laugh-out-loud moments generally don't work as well as the quiet ones where Carell and Fey are doing what they do best, which is being relatably awkward and dorky. Which I guess is what I meant when I made that comment to Chao at the end of the film. If the leads had been, say, Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston…well, obviously I wouldn't have been there in the first place.
And what's the message? They get into trouble because Phil decides to make an effort, to go the extra mile for his wife? How many husbands drive their wives home from this movie thinking, Dude, I'm never doing that.
But I'm glad we stayed for the credits, not only for the smattering of amusing outtakes, but because I learned this interesting fact: Mark Wahlberg had a costumer. Must have worked part-time. posted by M. Giant 7:18 PM 1 comments
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