Not knowing the plot beforehand, implied by the title, I expected Date Night to be just another standard, cutesy romantic comedy. Happily, it's more.
The main characters, Claire and Phil Foster (Tina Fey and Steve Carell) are actually married. They are basically good people involved in a save and ordinary relationship peppered with predictable resentments, unfulfilled desires, and a couple of kids.
They keep a sense of connection with regular, predictable and ordinary date nights, but the impending divorce of close friends provides the impetus for each of them to step things up, break out of complacence, and take some risks.
Claire dresses up, and Phil suggests a spontaneous trip in to Manhattan, to sample an exclusive new restaurant. Having no reservation, and an opening unlikely, they steal the table of a no-show couple.
Disaster follows, and the fun begins with a case of mistaken identity. The Fosters are confronted by two thugs who believe them to be the absent Triplehorns who are in possession of a seriously incriminating flash drive.
Unable to convince the enforcers of their true identities and innocence, to buy time and escape injury or worse, the Fosters invent a location for the flash drive, and direct the pair to a deserted Central Park boat house. Once there, they bolt, and a chase insues. Soon they discover that the henchmen work both sides of the law. With no police assistance, Claire hunts down a former realty client and security expert, the perpetually shirtless Grant Holbrook (Mark Wahlberg)-well worth the price of admission and a gigantic bag of popcorn-whose help in tracking down the real Tripplehorns which leads to solving the puzzle of the flash drive is invaluable.
Date night is a romantic comedy but aside of some schmaltzy sentimental moments, which change the mood and energy, it lives up to the label. It is complex, interesting, and generally entertaining, and contains a novel car chase that is both imaginative and funny.
There is a playful chemistry between Fey and Corell, and did I mention Mark Wahlberg?
William Fichtner plays the perfect sleaze, and it's far from a stretch to cast Ray Liotta as a mobster.
All in all, Date Night is a fun movie, perfect for a real date night.