Your theater entertainment options for this weekend are as follows:
Option one: A mistaken identity comedy starring TV’s two best comedians. Option two: Liam Neeson goes back-to-back weekends with a supernatural/psychological thriller. Option three: Save your money and pre-order Avatar. Option four: None of the above. Option five: Call your significant other and schedule a Date Night (Rotten Tomatoes – Metacritic).
“Different from run-of-the-mill romantic comedies–which is all to the good, but not terribly funny–which isn’t.” Frank Swietek One Guy’s Opinion
Confused by your syntax–which happens, especially when comments are taken out of context–which sucks.
“A jumble of genres, tones, and styles, Date Night ultimately strains to be a serious movie about marriage, with one joke: that, even when surrounded by excitement, Claire and Phil revert to being dull. But in practice, their dullness is just dull.” Village Voice Karina Longworth
“A broadly promising premise and well-matched stars prove no match for an abominably unfunny screenplay and the work of the poisonously untalented Shawn Levy–arguably the worst director making big-budget studio films today.” Boxoffice Magazine Wade Major
Levy’s previous movies include Night at the Museum (1 and 2), Cheaper by the Dozen, and The Pink Panther. If we take the average of their Rotten Tomatoes scores, we get (133/400=33% average), which means Date Night is currently his greatest achievement, by double. Great! He’s not as terrible as expected.
“The movie knows enough, most of the time, to just let the funny people be funny.” Portland Oregonian Marc Mohan
“These talented performers star in two of the wittiest, most sophisticated sitcoms on the air, but for this movie pairing they’re stuck with an endlessly silly plot line and overblown physical mayhem that is instantly forgettable. The fact that they make it so funny nonetheless is a testament to their abilities.” The Hollywood Reporter Frank Scheck
“Carell and Fey … can telegraph anxiety, humiliation and exasperated affection in a glance. They give the film a boost even Levy can’t deflate.” Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune
Translation: Talented comedians make the movie funnier than the director wanted it to be.
“A skeleton praying its leads will bring it to life.” Amy Nicholson I.E. Weekly
“Born again Christina Ricci haunts a mortuary, while perfecting post-mortem freaky in the nude. This may or may not be your cup of embalming fluid, in terms of either intriguing those with unconventional viewing preferences, or seriously creeping you out.” Prairie Miller NewsBlaze
In doing these roundups, I’ve come to know the tones and personalities of several critics and Prairie Miller is consistently one of the most amusing and enigmatic reviewers to read. In two sentences, she summed up the movie “Christian haunts mortuary,” made a movie-themed joke about embalming fluid, and summed up the movie’s likely audiences: people who liked to get creeped out, people who are creepy (aka unconventional viewers), and horndogs “freaky in nude.” Pretty impressive.
“The only thing worse than bad horror is pretentiously bad horror. From title to finish, After.Life takes itself far more seriously than you will.” New York Daily News Elizabeth Weitzman
Oh good. I was having enough trouble taking the Title. Seriously.
“So many horror conventions are at work in After.Life that either the filmmakers are parodying them or couldn’t come up with anything better. I’m betting on the second choice.” San Francisco Chronicle Walter Addiego
I’ll give action on that bet, but I’d need at least 3 to 1 odds.
“Its attempts to intriguingly address issues of life and death are undercut by silly vagueness and sillier gratuitous T&A.” Nick Schager Slant Magazine
“We can enjoy the suspense of the opening scenes, and some of the drama. The performances are in keeping with the material. But toward the end, when we realize that the entire reality of the film is problematical, there is a certain impatience. It’s as if our chain is being yanked.” Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert
If we don’t bring a chain, should we shield ourselves from other types of yanking?
“This is one case where there’s more life in the morgue than out.” Time Out New York Keith Uhlich
I can’t tell if that’s an insult or wordplay with the premise. Also, the impressive looking morgue is the only recurring praise for this movie. Let’s end this roundup with someone who agrees with me.
“What might have played well as a multipage Poe rumination gradually gets pulled to bits by thudding Ricci-Neeson face-offs in the poster-ready funeral-prep chamber.” Nicolas Rapold Village Voice