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Date Night



"Date Night" is a perfectly agreeable movie saved from mediocrity by its two leads. Although Josh Klausner's script is not up to their immense talents, they make the movie better simply by doing what they do.

NBC Thursday-night MVPs Steve Carell ("The Office") and Tina Fey ("30 Rock") star as Phil and Claire Foster, who appear to have it all: happy marriage, beautiful house, two kids. But they've settled into a rut. As friends around them split up, Phil hopes to jazz up their routine by spontaneously taking Claire to New York's trendiest/snootiest seafood restaurant, Claw.

They have no reservation, so they steal an unclaimed one for the Tripplehorns. In assuming that identity, however, they assume all the baggage that goes along with it "? namely, a mobster (Ray Liotta) who's sent his goons (Common and Jimmi Simpson) to hand over his stolen flash drive, or eat lead. Oh, what a zany night!

Shawn Levy (he of the "Night at the Museum" franchise) directs this yuppie take on Martin Scorsese's "After Hours" with his usual blandness and sense of artifice. No one appears to have told Carell and Fey, and the two proceed to tackle the screwball comedy as if it were gold. God bless them for attempting to give it an edge, because their zippy one-liners, unapologetic vulnerability and, perhaps above all, married-couple chemistry make the film enjoyable, if still far from spectacular. Fey, in particular, is awesome.

Brief bits by a shirtless Mark Wahlberg and a clothed Kristen Wiig help perk up things further. The disc includes the theatrical version, but also an unrated one that tacks on several extra minutes and two well-placed F-bombs. Extras are largely promotional, such as a series of three unfunny "PSAs" featuring our hapless couple. "?Rod Lott


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