A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this farcical comedy, filled with the kind of pratfalls, comic car chases, and silly humor of Tina Fey and Steve Carell that appeal to teens, is geared more toward adults. It contains sexual innuendo and coarse language throughout, plus mature themes related to married life, and episodes of violence and gunplay -- all played for humor. One long sequence takes place in a strip club and includes near-nude women, suggestive dancing, and the threat of violent behavior. There are multiple discussions of menstruation, infidelity, and sexual misbehavior. Strong language abounds ("asshole," "s--t," "penis," "whore" and one use of "f--k"). The leading characters are held at gunpoint and shot at many times, however, it's all comedic action and no one is injured or killed. One comic car chase results in dozens of crashes, shattered windows, a character hanging onto carhood, and a main character ending up in a river, unharmed.
What's the story?
After some seemingly happy friends decide to separate, Phil and Claire Foster (Steve Carell and Tina Fey) wonder about the solidity of their own marriage. Have parenthood, longevity, and routine begun to crack its foundation? A real DATE NIGHT in Manhattan (not just their usual New Jersey steakhouse outing) might add some zest to their lives. But when they arrive in New York City, a bad case of mistaken identity sends the Fosters on the run. Chased by some very scary people with guns, as well as the police, Phil and Claire have to use their not-always-reliable wits and minimal resources to outmaneuver the villains and discover some valuable truths about themselves.
Is it any good?
The pleasure and laughs in Date Night come from the physical comedy, special chemistry, wry humor, and remarkable talent of the movie's two stars. It's a film to sit back and enjoy, without thinking too hard about realism. Forget the silliness of the plot; it's simply the engine that drives the movie and allows the filmmakers to follow the antics of the Fosters and introduce other off-beat and vibrant characters (played by the hilarious James Franco, Ray Liotta, Mila Kunis, and a perpetually shirtless Mark Wahlberg).
As the chase continues, the characters stop runnning long enough (and the audience stops laughing long enough) to see some very real and recognizable private moments between Phil and Claire. Competent direction, a script that tries to bring some logic to the proceedings, along with the chronically funny characters and material, make the film seem spontaneous and even heartfelt amid all the boisterous merriment. Teens might find the slapstick humor funny, but they'll miss the jokes aimed at long-term couples and perhaps even scoff at the sentimental moments.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about danger and violence in the movie. Did you ever feel that the main characters were in serious jeopardy? What tools did the filmmakers use to show that it was all in fun and there was no real danger?
The movie had lots of sexual humor. How was the humor different from other movies where sex plays a prominent role? Did the fact that some of the sex jokes involved married people make them more or less funny? Why or why not?
What did the Fosters learn about themselves during their adventure? How did they surprise each other?
Would it surprise you to learn that the pole dancing scene was neither scripted nor rehearsed? Describe "improvisation" and talk about other instances in movies and on television where the material might have been improvised.
- In theaters: April 9, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: August 9, 2010
- Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Steve Carell, Tina Fey
- Director: Shawn Levy
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sexual and crude content throughout, language, some violence and a drug reference
For kids who love romance
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.