Film Friday: ‘Date Night’ and ‘A Shine Of Rainbows’

by W. Andrew Powell

Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg in Date Night

Tina Fey, Steve Carell and Mark Wahlberg in Date Night

Opening this weekend in theatres, Tina Fey and Steve Carell get a little crazy in Manhattan for the comedy Date Night; plus a look at the dramedy A Shine Of Rainbows.

Date Night
Starring: Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco
Director: Shawn Levy

Couples need more excuses to get out to the movies, and Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy has about as good of an excuse as you could hope for with his new film, Date Night.

Comedians Tina Fey and Steve Carell star in this light-hearted comedy as an average suburban couple who are just looking for one good night on the town. Burdened with their careers and kids, the couple always go to the same restaurant once a week to try to get out of the house, but Phil would like to show his wife, Claire, a good time and takes her into Manhattan on a last-minute whim.

Arriving at one of the hottest new restaurants in the city, the couple don’t have a reservation, but on another whim Phil decides to take someone else’s reservation rather than taking his wife somewhere else.

This little bad deed starts off an evening of mistaken identities, confusion, and more than a little excitement that leaves Phil and Claire dodging two crooked cops across the heart of Manhattan.

With numerous cameos by stars like Mark Wahlberg, Taraji P. Henson, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco, and Mila Kunis, Date Night is fun and lively nearly all the way through. Where it stumbles, somewhat, is in dealing with the serious angles of the film. These hiccups come when Levy tries to bring a serious tone to the story to make the threats seem more realistic. The problem is that these serious moments drag down the otherwise fun storyline, if nothing else, for a few minutes at a time.

The first time this happens, when the two cops drag Phil and Claire outside the restaurants, it’s far too jarring. One minute the couple are making jokes and the next they’re almost begging for their lives. Levy clearly wanted the moment to matter, and it does sink in, but it ruins the mood of the comedy in a way that doesn’t work for the audience, who have to switch gears to follow the wayward mood.

Fey and Carell are excellent together though, and their chemistry is what makes every antic and zany set piece work. Whether they’re dancing together against a stripper pole or driving two cars that are smashed together, they’re a believable couple with all the right lines.

Their scenes with Wahlberg and Franco, in particular, are some of the best of the film, although they have very few bad scenes to begin with.

Most of all, Date Night makes for a great evening at the movies for couples. The humour revolves around the things that most couples face over the years they’re together, and it’s all in a format that is very casual and appealing. Carell and Fey’s off-the-cuff humour, since many of the scenes had improvised lines, works very well and both of them represent the funny every-man and woman who we all identify with.

Date Night is frequently not as funny as it thinks it ought to be, but it’s funnier than most films, especially the less inventive ones which rely on the kind of juvenile humour that often passes for adult comedy.

A Shine Of Rainbows
Starring: Connie Nielsen, Aidan Quinn, John Bell, Jack Gleeson, Tara Alice Scully, Niamh Shaw
Director: Vic Sarin

Also opening this weekend, the young John Bell stars in this sweet, family dramedy about an orphan boy who has to adapt to life in the remote reaches off the coast of Ireland. Bell plays Tomás, an awkward child with a big imagination who can’t seem to make peace with his new step-father, played by Aidan Quinn, or the local children who constantly make fun of him.

While his adoptive mother Maire, played by Connie Nielsen, introduces him to the folklore of their new home, Tomás slowly comes to love the land, and makes friends with the children at school though.

After one terrible turn of events, Tomás will have to take a tough journey, or lose his way from what could be a happy home.

New movies opening soon…

April 16
Death At A Funeral
The Square

April 23
Back-up Plan

April 30
Furry Vengeance
Nightmare on Elm Street

May 7
Iron Man 2

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