Don’t be fooled by Date Night‘s 81% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Many if not most of the positive reviews are of the “yes but” variety — i.e., “Yes, the movie underwhelms or disappoints, but Steve Carell and Tina Fey are great.”
Lou Lumenick‘s N.Y. Post review is deemed a positive red tomato, even though he calls the script “derivative and predictable,” and says that Carell and Fey’s behavior occasionally “defies all logic.” Calling it “a PG-13 version of After Hours with more than a bit of The Out-of-Towners thrown in” doesn’t sound like a thumbs-up to me.
There’s certainly no excuse for giving Date Night an out-and-out rave, such as the one submitted by USA Today‘s Claudia Puig: “This is the rare screwball comedy that’s superbly paced, cleverly plotted and hilarious from start to finish.” Not on this planet. At best Shawn Levy‘s film is an in-and-outer.
One possible explanation is that the interplay between Carell and Fey plus certain meditative portions of Josh Klausner‘s screenplay (i.e., mature married couple relating to each other with a semblance of honesty) has struck some kind of chord among female critics. The Philadelphia Inquirer‘s Carrie Rickey, Salon‘s Mary Elizabeth Williams, Variety‘s Lael Lowenstein and Time‘s Mary F. Pols also wrote about fluttery contact highs.