According to Hollywood, if you have been in any kind of committed relationship for more than a few months, you might as well be dead. If you are actually married, or have children well then forget dead – your penis and va-jay-jay have long since been entombed with the pharaohs in some dusty pyramid, never to again emerge into the world of actual sex.
In this fine tradition audiences have been treated to an endless succession of films which dare to ponder what nightmarish consequences might ensure for couples who make the mistake of breaking their tried and true routine. Witness Date Night, a film that stars not one but two reliable representatives of the non-romantic fuddy-duddy community: Steve Carell and Tina Fey. The general plot goes like this: couple decides to drive from Jersey to NYC to get a little dinner. Only instead of dinner they get: A DATE WITH DEATH!
Oh wait – that’s the plot of a much more interesting movie. You see, unlike any film aimed at the teenage set a trip from the ‘burbs to the big city doesn’t involve romantic misunderstandings or a touching coming of age experience but rather a night full of bumbling, gangsters and dirty cops. Instead of a grisly execution on the mean streets of New York, Fey and Carell lurch through the city trying to avoid the fate of the couple whose identity they mistakenly assumed when they stole their restaurant reservation. On the way, they are exposed to Marky Mark Wahlberg’s pecs and participate in the kind of pole dance routine that should be shown in every abstinence education program across the country. Oh and orchestrate a completely unbelievable SWAT sting operation at the end of the film to of course nail all the baddies to the wall - which is something Carell’s character learned how to do while getting his accounting certificate at UTI, I guess.
You see, where American movies like this one get things wrong is with their unwillingness to take any risks whatsoever. Had this been a Japanese script, our fun-loving middle-aged twosome wouldn’t have been able to shrug off the consequences of their dinner reservation gone wrong quite so easily. Oh no – in the middle of the meal Fey would have started to choke, reached into her mouth and begun to pull out an undead, zombie-like child holding her own uterus in its arms and cackling ‘SEVEN DAYS, SEVEN DAYS’ over and over again until Carell bludgeoned it to death with his salad fork. At that point, if anyone was still left in the theatre, Fey would have been attended to by a team of robot surgeons for the remainder of the film, each one cosmetically altered to resemble a former president of the United States.
My proposed plot for a remake of this humdrum date comedy might seem somewhat random, but it is certainly not boring – which is more than I can say for this re-treaded caper flick. Remember when your own parents would go out for dinner once a month, and then come home gassy, bloated and cranky from the bad buffet food and terrible service? This movie is just like that, minus the General Tao chicken.
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