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Date Night

Year: 2010
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Shawn Levy
Producer: Shawn Levy
Writer: Josh Klausner
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Common, William Fitchner, Ray Liotta, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Leighton Meester, Kristen Wiig, Mark Ruffalo

You might have seen the name of the director, Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum) on this film and given it a wide berth. And as a comedy about a boring suburban married couple who get caught up in mob activity while on a night out in the city, complete with car chases and the odd gunfight, you might have been right to do so.

Two reasons alone make it not only worth seeing but the best comedy of 2010 so far, and they're Tina Fey and Steve Carell. They're not only comedy pros at the pinnacle of their game in this film, they're a joy to watch working together. Every tic, every nuance doesn't only lift the comedy between them way above what the rest of the movie deserves, but they have the unspoken awareness - the 'air' - of a couple who've been married long enough to have a few kids and be content while not thrilled any more.

They enjoy a weekly date night to keep things fresh and on a whim accountant husband Phil (Carell) suggests a hot new restaurant in Manhattan. When they get there it's obvious they're not cool enough to get a table, so they take a reservation that belongs to someone else who seems not to have turned up.

It turns out to be a mistake, as the people they're posing as are wanted by two guys who turn out to be crooked cops. They demand the return of a flash drive Phil and Claire (Fey) have no idea about, leaving them to make something up long enough to keep themselves alive.

They get away and have to spend the night running around New York, enlisting the help of a former client of Claire's (Wahlberg) who makes Phil bristle from his excess of masculinity and realising the conspiracy goes right to a Senator (Fitchner) and a mob boss (Liotta).

But almost everything else around Fey and Carell matters not a jot. Every laugh belongs not to Levy's pedestrian direction or even Klausner's script but their assured grasp of their characters and the comedy they can wrangle from them. The stuff the pair take off the page and make their own is priceless, roping the support acts around them (some of which are funny enough in themselves, such as Kunis and Franco as the real criminals Phil and Claire have posed as) riotously in with their performances.

On a second viewing I suspect even more laughs would emerge. Running gags like the recurring theme of how wrong it was of Phil and Claire to take someone elses reservation at a restaurant are the icing on the cake.

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