Posts Tagged ‘date night’


date_night09Stranded-in-big-bad-New-York-City movies are nothing new. Jack Lemon and Sandy Dennis endured everything from exploding manhole covers to muggings in 1970’s “The Out of Towners” and in “After Hours” Griffin Dunne got sucked into the vortex known as Soho for one very long, weird night. Nope, the idea of average people getting in over their heads in the Big Apple has been done before, and done better than it is in “Date Night,” but this movie isn’t about the plot, it’s about the likeability of its two stars Tina Fey and Steve Carell.

Fey and Carell are Claire and Phil, a bored married couple from Teaneck, New Jersey looking to spice up their dull date nights with a fancy outing in Manhattan. It starts off promisingly. They can’t get a table at the hottest place in town, but when another couple doesn’t show up for their reservation Phil assumes their name, The Tripplehorns, and grabs the table. Dinner is great—wine is flowing, the truffle topped risotto is delicious, is at the next table—until two thugs (Jimmi Simpson, Common) come calling for the real Tripplehorns. Seems the other couple are blackmailers in possession of a flash drive that local mafia bigwig (Ray Liotta) desperately wants back. The case of mistaken identity sets them on a collision course with a notably shirtless security expert (Mark Wahlberg), crooked cops and wild car chases.

“Date Night” wouldn’t be as enjoyable as it is—and it really is fun—without the two leads. Fey and Carell breathe life into a hackneyed situation, bringing not only the previously mentioned likeability, but also great chemistry and a way with a line—and an adlib—that really works. Without them “Date Night” would be a silly exercise in action – comedy, like the lackluster “The Bounty Hunter” from a few weeks ago. With them it is a romp, which while predictable, has real, deep genuine laughs.

They are aided by a good supporting cast, most of which aren’t going for laughs. Liotta brings his usual tough guy swagger, “Benjamin Button” Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson is solid, if not a little dull as a detective who takes just a bit too long to realize that something sinister is afoot and Jimmi Simpson and Common are suitably sleazy as dirty cops, but it is the comedy supporting roles that shine.

Wahlberg mixes humor and sculpted abs in a memorable turn as a helpful—and terminally topless—security expert and the pairing of James Franco and Mila Kunis throws off some comedy sparks in their brief scene as the elusive Tripplehorns.

“Date Night” isn’t the most original comedy we’ve seen this year, but it is the best cast one.

Tina Fey enjoys a decade of comic clout By Richard Crouse Metro Canada – In Focus March 20, 2013

paul_rudd_tina_fey_admissionTina Fey regularly appears on the Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list of the most powerful celebrities. She’s made the Entertainment Weekly roll call of Entertainers of the Year and Time called her one of the most influential people in the world.

Did I mention she’s also really funny?

For nine years on Saturday Night Live she worked behind the scenes—as the show’s first female head writer—and on camera as the anchor of Weekend Update. “She might be the best Weekend Update anchor who ever did it,” said Dennis Miller. “She writes the funniest jokes”

Then came 30 Rock, the medium-rated but critically adored sit com, a best selling book and a celebrated impersonation of Sarah Palin that even got the thumbs up from the ex-Governor.

This weekend she’s on the big screen in Admission, a comedy co-starring Paul Rudd. She plays a Princeton admissions officer who thinks one of her new recruits is the son she gave up for adoption years ago.

Fey made her film debut a decade ago in the quirky comedy Martin & Orloff as part of an ensemble cast that included SNLers Amy Poehler and Rachel Dratch.

That movie didn’t garner much attention, and her role of “Southern Woman” even less, but in 2004 she shortened the unwieldy title Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughters Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence to Mean Girls. The story of high school in-groups was a hit and launched the careers of Rachel McAdams and Amanda Seyfried.

She co-starred in Mean Girls as math teacher Ms. Norbury and made on-screen appearances as “Front Desk Girl” in Beer League but got her name over the title in Baby Mama.

She played Kate, a single thirty-seven year old businesswoman so desperate to have a baby she hires Angie, an inappropriate South Philly wild child (Amy Poehler) to be her surrogate.

Next was the “stranded-in-big-bad-New-York-City” movie Date Night opposite Steve Carell. The movie wouldn’t be as enjoyable as it is without the two leads. Fey and Carell breathe life into a hackneyed situation, bringing not only likeability, but also great chemistry and a way with a line that really works.

In the animated Megamind she voiced intrepid girl reporter Roxanne Ritchi, kidnapped by the master of all villainy Megamind (voice of Will Ferrell) and next year she stars with Ricky Gervais in The Muppets… Again!

Big screen adventures in NYC’s seedy side In Focus by Richard Crouse METRO CANADA April 09, 2010

imagesIf you’ve only ever seen New York projected onto a screen it’s understandable that you may have a skewed idea of what the city is all about. Charles Bronson made a career of showing the city’s down, dirty and dangerous side in the Death Wish films, and The Warriors didn’t exactly earn high marks from the NYC Tourist Bureau.

Even comedies frequently paint the Big Apple as a scary place. Sure, romantic comedies make the city look great, but there is a tradition of setting hapless comedic characters loose in Gotham with predictably chaotic—for instance, see After Hours, a Kafkesque Martin Scorsese trip through the mean streets of NYC—though funny results.

This weekend’s Date Night sees two of television’s funniest actors, Tina Fey and Steve Carell, as an average married couple who get pulled into New York’s seedy underbelly after a case of mistaken identity.

It’s a funny premise that breathes the same air as another 40-year-old film. Neil Simon originally planned to write the story of Gwen and George (Sandy Dennis and Jack Lemmon), an Ohio couple who experience the worst of NYC life, as a chapter in his Broadway play Plaza Suite, but as the tale grew to include a series of calamities—exploding manhole covers! Cuban protesters!—the playwright realized he needed a larger canvas and wrote it directly for the screen. The Out-of-Towners (later remade starring Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin) set the template for the indignant, put-upon NYC tourist comedy. In this story even the police sympathize with—and maybe even envy—the unlucky day-trippers.

“You folks live out of town?” asks Officer Meyers.

“Oh yes,” replies Gwen.

“You’re lucky,” says the cop.

Gwen and George can’t even catch a break when they flee the city. On the plane home they get hijacked to Cuba.

King Shadov, an exiled king played by Charlie Chaplin in A King in New York has better luck, but just barely. Shot in 1957 but not released until 1973 because of its rapier jabs at American culture, the film follows a monarch who arrives in NYC only to discover his bank accounts have been drained. Broke and on unfamiliar terrain, he clashes with the American way-of-life, denouncing rock and roll, CinemaScope and Joseph McCarthy’s communist hunt. It’s one of Chaplin’s best—although lesser known— films and would make a great double feature with Date Night.