Date Night (2010) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Action / Comedy
Fox || PG13 - 88 minutes - $39.99 || August 10, 2010
Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-08-17


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Shawn Levy
Writer(s): Josh Klausner (written by)
Cast: Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Taraji P. Henson, Common, Mark Wahlberg


Theatrical Release Date: April 9, 2010


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • 5 Featurettes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Live Lookup
  • Digital Copy


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Putting together two talented and successful comedy actors together doesn’t necessarily equal comedy gold and in the case of Date Night which sees the pairing of Steve Carell from NBC’s “The Office” and Tina Fey from “30 Rock” on the same network, it is thanks to the duo that the movie has any reason to see the light of day because otherwise Date Night isn’t a well crafted or well plotted film.

The movie tells the story of Phil and Claire Foster (CARELL and FEY), a loving couple who have been married for years but who are also now stuck in the routine of marriage that so many are in. They each of a daily schedule that consists of their kids waking them up at 5 am, making breakfast, making the kids’ lunches, going to work, coming home beat up and tired and going to bed with no bedroom playtime.

One of their routines includes a date night every week in which Phil and Claire goes to a nice restaurant, order the same meal and create different stories for people eating around them, giving them a back story so to speak. One night, one of Phil’s friends (MARK RUFFALO in one of many short cameo-like roles) reveals that he and his wife are splitting up thanks to the fact that their marriage had become a routine, which is shocking and scary news for Phil.

So to shake things up Phil decides to take Claire to the City (they live in Jersey) and eat at the exclusive restaurant, “Claw”, the snooty and expensive kind of place where – much to the amazing surprise from Phil – is completely booked up on a Friday night. Rather than admitting defeat and going to another place, they take the advice from the maitre d to wait at the club/bar until a spot opens. When a hostess (another cameo, this from OLIVIA MUNN of G4 fame) calls out a name and no one responds, Phil takes the opportunity to get a table and tells her he is that individual.

Of course, as we’ve seen in movies like North by Northwest, the old mistaken identity happens when two intimidating dudes named Collins (COMMON) and Armstrong (JIMMI SIMPSON) escort them out to the ally – since the couple believed they were just in trouble for taking a reservation – where upon they are asked for the flash drive. Phil and Claire have no clue what they are talking about but the two guys are not having any of it and rather than getting killed right there, Phil has to admit to knowing about the flash drive and leads them to the most remote areas of New York City at night: Central Park in the hopes to buy time and escape.

The rest of the film finds the suburban couple being chased by the thugs – who we soon learn are actually cops – as they try to get a hold of the flash drive in the hopes that they can spare their own lives. But things can’t be that simple as the object involves a crime boss (RAY LIOTTA) and the police commissioner (WILLIAM FICHTNER).

Date Night is one of those movies that I found to be funny a few times, entertaining enough throughout but also quite dull during a few scenes. Although it was great to have so many recognizable faces doing small roles and they each do a decent enough job, the only reason the film works is because of the comedic chemistry between Carell and Fey, two veterans of the genre that made their pairing a genius ploy because otherwise this would have been a completely forgettable film.

The movie was directed by Shawn Levy best known for the Night at the Museum movies as well as The Pink Panther, Just Married and Cheaper by the Dozen, a track record that isn’t all that accomplished for comedy, but much like this film, on par for what I expected from him. Meanwhile, the movie was written by one Josh Klausner whose previous work included Shrek the Third (in additional material capacity) and Shrek Forever After. So his record isn’t the best either, but to be fair, I thought some of the story elements here were fun and the joke payoffs, while obvious, worked for me.

Overall, Date Night isn’t going to be remembered as a comedy classic by any stretch and if it weren’t for the brilliant casting of Steve Carell and Tina Fey, this would have been an utterly forgettable film outright (and I doubt the box office receipts would’ve been any good). I would say that as a rental this would make a good date movie on a Saturday night but don’t get in expecting too much as there still was much to be desired.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

The movie comes housed in a standard sized Blu-ray case and a slip cover with a lenticular front cover. The disc did take some time to load (at least 4-minutes) on my secondary player (Panasonic BD35) – which I use when reviewing discs – and when it finally loaded, it still would not load as the white circle thing kept going and going for an additional 5-minutes. So, I ejected the disc, disconnected my player from the Internet and wa-la, it loaded just fine. Only problem is, I now could not use Fox’s nifty tool, more on that later.

Audio Commentary (Theatrical Version) – Executive Producer/Director Shawn Levy sits down for an informative commentary offering up tidbits on where the idea came from and on-set stories. It’s nothing outstanding and I think Levy would’ve benefited with others in the room, but as solo tracks go, it’s not too bad. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Deleted Scenes (5:47; HD) – There are four scenes available and don’t offer anything new or funny. The first one is dreadfully dull but kind of a chuckle-worthy payoff at the end. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Alt City (1:48; SD) – This is a collection of alternate takes with Steve Carell and Tina Fey, a few of which was shown during the end credits.

Extended Scenes (10:25; SD) – If the deleted scenes weren’t enough, you get four extended scenes that, again, don’t offer much more and were excised from the film for good reason. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Directing 301 (21:48; SD) – Director Shawn Levy offers his insights into directing and the expectations of him as a director. This is intertwined with behind-the-scenes footage. It’s nothing special but you do get sound bites from other members of the crew and a look at how movies are made.

Disaster Dates (4:43; SD) – Members of the cast – including Steve Carell, Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, Olivia Munn, Common, Mila Kunis and others – offer their experiences on absolutely awful and disastrous dates. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Directing Off Camera (3:46; SD) – Shawn Levy talks about, well, directing off camera shouting out suggestions over a blow horn. Parts of it are kind of funny to hear him describe what dance moves he wanted Carell and Fey to have on the strip pole.

Steve and Tina Camera Tests (3:10; SD) – This is a self-explanatory featurette that shows the test shots of Carell and Fey to, as Levy explains, show the studio the esthetics he was going for in the movie. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Gag Reel (5:49; SD) – This is your typical collection of flubbed lines and when you have actors like Carell and Fey in there, you know there will be a ton of them.

Live Lookup – This is the feature where, while the movie plays, you can look up info about the various members of the cast and crew via BD-Live which connects into IMDb. Personally, I never found this to be that valuable but others seem to enjoy it. Now, like I said in my opening for the features, I could not use this because my player was unable to load anything beyond the Theatrical Version/Extended Version options menu.** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Last up we get some fake PSAs (2:02; SD), the theatrical trailer (2:25; HD), a Digital Copy “How To” (3:35; SD) and the Digital Copy itself on a separate disc. Other than the PSAs, the rest are ** Blu-ray Exclusives **



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Date Night makes its way onto Blu-ray with a nice looking 1080p high-def transfer. The movie is presented in its original 2.35 aspect ratio and while I can’t say this is an amazing look picture, I was on the whole satisfied with it. There’s a discernable amount of grain throughout – since most of the film was shot at night – providing some good detail levels while the black levels also look right.

Oddly enough, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track has a fair amount of range for a comedy. The first part of the movie is very much either dialogue or music/score but you do get a good mix during the film’s unique car chase scene half-way through as well as some gunplay here and there providing depth to the track.



.::OVERALL::.

Date Night excels thanks to the great chemistry between Steve Carell and Tina Fey because if it weren’t for them, this would have been a very forgettable comedy as a good portion of the movie really isn’t awfully funny but due to Carell and Fey’s adlibs, it does make it a film worthy of a rental.