Adventures in Babysitting – with an adult edge!
Swift shot:Â So, if you have seen even one preview (and if you haven’t – you must still use an abacus) you know this is about a bored couple from New Jersey that is bold enough to steal a table reservation at a swanky Manhattan restaurant – and they get more than they bargained for.Â Ok, granted, the plot device is a bit weak, but once the comedy knees you awake – literally from the start – you can’t stop laughing every few minutes.Â Fey and Carell need to have one of those fucking annoying Hollyweird names, Feyrel?Â Carfey?Â I dunno, but, they need to keep making shit together, because they blend well – in fact, I would like to stick them in my Magic Bullet and make a spread for my bagel, delicious.Â This film was just cheesy goodness, you knew what you were getting when you entered the theater – and it doesn’t disappoint.
What’s the story?
As I mentioned in my shot above, bored couple from the burbs dares to snag table reservations and winds up in deep doo doo.Â The exposition on characters Phil (Carell) and Claire (Fey) is brief but you learn more about them through their zany antics.Â Yes, there are zany antics, again, did you SEE a preview?
He is a numbers cruncher, tax attorney and she is a real estate broker – together, they are The Fosters, parents and straight-laced card-carrying members of the monotony club and a weekly ritual called Date Night.Â It is never explained why they started a Date Night . . . is this one of those things that all bland couples engage in?Â I mean, the movie does a brilliant job of showing how a ritual to spark spontaneity is a fruitless effort, because even that becomes a loveless chore. Where the intent was to spark some romance and passion, eventually both parties want to just soak in a pool draped in velvet.Â After dealing with numbers and dolts all day, who has the energy to venture into the city?
But, one night at a friend’s house, for a book-club, which apparently the neutered Mr. Foster has to endure because it is “important” to his wife, they discover the hosts are splitting up.Â They appear to be extremely happy with this decision and The Fosters both fear that if this happy couple, played by the under-used Kristen Wiig and Mark Ruffalo, can’t make it work – well, who the hell can?Â The next Date Night, Claire dons a sexy dress which steps up Phil’s game; he is set to impress her to a late night jaunt into Manhattan.
Their encounter with the host of Claw, “You’re Welcome” is pretty good comedy, and it leads them to eventually snag the table of the no-shows, The Tripplehorns.Â They eventually run into some trouble, and here is where I couldn’t help but directly compare it to Adventures in Babysitting.Â It was like an older model of the same film – with a modern fuck-it-all edge.Â This Date Night turns into a wonderful mis-adventure for The Fosters.Â They encounter cops, thugs, gangsters, strippers, cab drivers, corrupt politicians, all the menagerie that Manhattan has to offer.Â You’ll enjoy watching them try to survive this one magical night in the city that never sleeps.
Why I laughed twenty-eight times
Carell is the master of playing the dry stooge and Fey is his girl-Friday (yes, Tina, I went there, deal with it – score one for chauvinism) who gets by with a razor sharp wit of one-liners she must keep stored in her fart riddled shoe-box.
The mix of dry, dorky delivery and balls up feminine savvy lends well to the overall results.Â You will laugh, and even if you are uber-pretentious (you know who you are) there are scenes that will at least make your stiff-ass grin.Â I mean, come on, the world will be over in 2012, LAUGH you cretin.
I loved the little game The Fosters created as they dodged the boredom slowly stifling their marriage . . . their creative people watching routine at dinner. Loved the ad-libbed one-liners too, and you know they are ad-libbed because they show you out-takes during the credits, and not the annoying kind where you have to WAIT for the whole friggin scroll to go by, the immediate out-takes!
The movie doesn’t fail to entertain at all, there are some 80s references for nerds like me, and maybe you, and even a bit of a twist thrown in – let’s see if you are paying attention and catch it.Â Of course, when dorkiness is used to set the humor, you have to have a stud and a vixen to juxtapose the awkwardness of the lead stooges.Â Enter Holbrooke (Wahlberg) as the shirtless black-ops bad-ass, and his bottomless friend, Natanya (Gal Gadot).Â They show how foppish The Fosters are and of course there are cameos by James Franco, as Taste and his girl, Whippit (Mila Kunis), who reminds you how straight-laced The Fosters really are.
Still, there is a lot of action. for a simple zany comedy.Â A great chase scene, which I call the LOVE-BUG chase scene, and there are no VWs involved – nor Lohans.Â You’ll see what I mean fairly quickly into the chase.
One scene, where The Fosters have to dance their way out of a situation reminded me of one of those SNL skits that starts off poorly, goes on too long and is simply crap.Â They manage to salvage it at the end, but it is clear the chemistry of Feyrel was strained in this scene, which, oddly comes off as a pivotal moment in the adventure.Â So, Date Night loses points for that scene and some inept acting by supporting cast members, Ray Liotta looked like he was punching a time-card and could care less about being professional, a far cry from his awesome performance in the recent Observe and Report.
Still, watching The Fosters grow as a couple willing to do anything to survive their Date Night is a treat.Â And, like I said before, go see it, laugh, don’t worry about the crippling economy, terrorists, nukes, crooked Congressmen, right-wing whackos, left-wing loons or any other silliness – just enjoy this one with a nice glass of Pinot.Â And remember, never toast on an empty glass!