My usual strategy with romantic comedies is to avoid anything with Jennifer Aniston/Gerard Butler /Kate Hudson. So I had high hopes for Date Night as Tina Fey and Steve Carell are fantastic on television.
The premise of having two comic geniuses joking about the pitfalls of modern family life seemed a good one and I was hoping that the outcome would be as charming and original as The-40-Year-Old-Virgin.
On television Carell and Fey make you laugh at the absurdities in everyday situations but Date Night lumbers them them a ludicrous and unrealistic plot involving being chased by cops gone bad/blackmailing a district attorney/getting mixed up with mob and every other cliche you can imagine.
And speaking of chases – why make the the two of them spend half the film in a car chase ? Any two cookie-cutter Hollywood actors could have been in these scenes without wasting the talents of Fey and Carell and making me waste money on a cinema ticket. If you are tempted to walk out, as I was, you may want to hang in there as the funniest parts are the out-takes over end credits.
All I want is a romantic comedy that makes me laugh without insulting my intelligence. Hollywood used to be able to do it in the 30s and 40s as evidenced by Bringing up Baby and His Girl Friday and there have been modern day successes such as the fantastic When Harry Met Sally (note: neither Billy Crystal or Meg Ryan had to do any action sequences).
So come on Hollywood – I have money that I want to spend on films that are about adults and not teenagers, are not based on comic books and don’t need lots of special effects. Old-fashioned 2-D and a decent script and characters will suffice. An example of what I want, this scene from When Harry Met Sally when he explains why men and women can never just be friends :