Often when you go into a film with expectations you are setting yourself up for disappointment. This was the case with this film for me. The two lead actors in the film are very likable and talented comedic actors. This plus the fact that the film is doing well at the box office led me to believe that it would be an above average comedy. Unfortunately that was not the case. I was disappointed.
Claire (Tina Fey – from television's 30 Rock) and Phil Foster (Steve Carrell – from television's The Office) have just been knocked for a loop. This New Jersey residing, comfortable middle class and middle aged couple have just found out that two of their friends, Haley (Kristen Wiig – from television's Saturday Night Live) and Brad Sullivan (Mark Ruffalo – Shutter Island, Reservation Road), are getting a divorce. Phil and Claire each begin to wonder if they have fallen into that rut that many married couples with kids fall into. Is the spark still there? Are we more like roommates than lovers?
In an attempt to stir things up a bit Phil decides that on their weekly date night that he will bring Claire to dinner in New York City at a restaurant that she was dying to go to. As they don't have reservation getting a table at the hottest new restaurant seems like it is going to be impossible. That is until fate takes a turn in their favour and the Tripplehorns, who have a reservation, don't seem to be there. Phil jumps in and pretends that he and Claire are the Tripplehorns.
Everything is going well until a couple of rough looking customers, Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson – The Invention of Lying, Zodiac) and Collins (Common – Terminator Salvation, Wanted), come to the table and thinking that the Fosters are the Tripplehorns start asking them to come with them. Confused, the Fosters think they have just been found out to not be the Tripplehorns, but once in the alley the two men pull guns on them and ask them for the flash drive back that they stole from their boss, crime boss Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta – Goodfellas, Smokin' Aces).
This case of mistaken identity just keeps getting worse and more dangerous for Claire and Phil when they discover that the two heavies are actually police detectives. The couple from the burbs are on the run in New York City and don't know who they can trust. All they do know is that they have to get that flash drive back if they have any hope of seeing their kids again.
Both stars are well known for making intelligent comedy that is not your run-of-the-mill kind of stuff. You would think that the fact that you pair the two of them together in the same film means you automatically have a winner on your hands. Somehow it just doesn't work. I was amazed at how few times I laughed while watching a film starring these two. And it wasn't just me it was the entire theatre.
Part of the problem is the silly action stuff that director Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Cheaper By the Dozen) insists on going back to. It takes away from the time that the two can be funny.
It is my understanding that most of the film was ad libbed by the two stars and it is my opinion that these parts are not as funny as the two stars think they are being. If you catch my drift. The best scene in the film is when fleeing from the two crooked detectives the two pull their car over to the side of the street and discuss the ups and downs of married life.
-Extended Car Chase
-Directing Off Camera
-Date Night PSAs (three versions)
-Directing 301 with Shawn Levy