As a die hard Tina Fey fan, I couldn’t wait to get a big, feature-film-length dose of her impeccable comic timing when I went see her star opposite Steve Carrell in Date Night. But I’m sorry to report, not even the boundless charisma and adorable chemistry of the film’s perfectly-cast stars could make up for the absurdly stupid plot of this romantic caper.
The flick actually starts off reasonably well, setting up Fey and Carrell as over-worked suburban New Jersey parents desperate to shake off their hectic daily routine with a night out. But when a case of mistaken identity fouls up their impromptu dinner in Manhattan, what follows is an adventure so inexplicably dumb, each twist and turn had me literally cringing in my seat, wanting to cry out “Why??? Why are you making such gifted actors do such stupid shit???” Honestly, nothing that anybody says or does during the last two-thirds of the movie makes any sense at all. And with no good plot points to set up their jokes, the few punch lines Fey and Carrell manage to eek out of their incredibly flimsy script fall much flatter than they should.
One can only fantasize about what a comedy starring Fey and Carrell would be like if the pair did the writing as well. But in the absence of that fantasy scenario, this stinker serves as a painful reminder of what might have been. Blerg! [Emily Rems]
Emily Rems is a feminist writer, editor, rock star, playwright, and occasional plus-size model living in New York’s East Village. Best known as managing editor of BUST magazine, Emily is also a music and film commentator for New York’s NPR affiliate WNYC, and is the drummer for the horror-punk band the Grasshoppers. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the anthologies Cassette from my Ex and Zinester’s Guide to NYC, and her short stories have been published in Rum Punch Press, Lumen, Prose ‘N Cons Mystery Magazine, Writing Raw, and PoemMemoirStory. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for fiction in 2015 and is working on a novel. Follow her on Twitter @emilyrems.