Tina Fey and Steve Carell make for a solid “Date Night”

Devon Fitzgerald

Based on its trailer, any success (besides the punchline for an NBC late night show) for “Date Night” looked bleak; starring the increasingly un-funny Steve Carell (“Evan Almighty,” anyone?), an awkward plot about a middle aged-couple’s quest for adventure, and several uncomfortable jokes about retainers, “Date Night” was destined to be an over-budgeted, ill-cast attempt at comedy.

However, with an impressive combination of veteran acting (including Tina Fey, Mark Wahlberg, James Franco) and witty dialogue that only an SNL alum like Fey could pull off, “Date Night” quickly joins the ranks of “About A Boy,” “Knocked Up” and “The 40 Year-Old Virgin,” though not nearly as crude.

The story follows the Fosters: a suburban, forty-something couple (Fey and Carell) whose lives are filled with book club, messy kids, and weekly date nights at the same table at the same restaurant with the same meal each night. Their lives are pleasant and routine, but after their close friends (a brief but entertaining Mark Ruffalo and Kirsten Wiig), announce their unexpected divorce, the Fosters alter their date night to a hot NYC restaurant to liven their marriage.

However, in their middle-aged naivety, the Fosters arrive to the restaurant late, with no reservations, and with no hope of being served, Fey suggests they head home. But Carell, worried about his marital status, impulsively takes the reservation of dangerous couple, and after that, what can go wrong, does.

The following hour is a strange combination of “James Bond” car chases, gadgets, and fights (though not as cool), and jokes about mother-in-laws, over-paid babysitters, and Mark Wahlberg’s abs. While the idea is amiable, the mixture is the movies one true flaw; it seems Twentieth Century Fox tried to create a film with the special effects of “The Fast and The Furious,” but also a heart-warming comedy an entire family could see, an awkward combination leaving neither party fulfilled.

Still, “Date Night” is an entertaining 88 minutes; with witty dialogue, a well selected cast, and a few decent action scenes, “Date Night” is a good choice this Saturday night.