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"God no, he turned it sideways. KILL SHOT! THAT'S A KILL SHOT!"—Phil Foster
Date Night is a 2010 romantic/action/comedy film starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey as a hapless New Jersey couple - Phil and Claire Foster. They had been married for a while and were comfortable with each other, and always made sure to arrange a date night.
A couple that is friends with them is getting happily divorced because they had gotten bored with each other; Phil and Claire are told independently that they need to spice up their life. So Phil spontaneously decides to take Claire to the exclusive restaurant Claw. Unfortunately, Phil tends to have bad luck with spontaneous plans. This restaurant is so exclusive that reservations have to be made months in advance. So they spontaneously decide to steal another couple's reservation, the Tripplehorns.
Unfortunately, someone is after the Tripplehorns and a flash drive that couple possesses, and they don't know Phil and Claire aren't them. After all, the Tripplehorns aren't really the Tripplehorns, either. Phil and Claire are mugged and feel forced to bluff that they know where the flash drive is. The rest of the film is Phil and Claire's attempt to get through the night without being killed or endangering their family at home. This involves skills, knowledge, and connections they didn't know they had, plus a few that they don't have, and multiple near-disasters.
The movie provides examples of:
- Action Survivor: Quite!
- All Is Well That Ends Well: Even though the police know they are directly responsible for breaking and entering, information theft, the destruction of a New York City Cab, quite a few parked cars and a substantial number of police cars, they get off just fine in the end with nary a slap on the wrist. Seems like their Hero Insurance was paid up.
- Ambiguously Gay: The Maitre'd at Claw.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: See Running Gag.
- "We've got you on obstruction of justice, racketeering, conspiracy, and I'm pretty sure prostitution."
- Bavarian Fire Drill: Phil and Claire distracting the hostess away from her podium, and later, when they bluff their way into the bordello.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: The poster shows the two are alright, in the film, not only are their clothes roughed up, but they get a fair share of bruises.
- Big Damn Heroes: The police storm the rooftop right on Claire's cue.
- Blind Without'Em: Phil wears Claire's glasses when they disguise themselves as a snooty upper class couple, forcing her to get the information they came for by pressing her face right up to the computer screen.
- Brick Joke: At the beginning, at home, Claire bangs her shins on drawers someone had left open. Halfway through the movie it happens twice more and it turns out it must have been Phil, since leaving drawers open is a bad habit of his.
- Buffy-Speak: "We just call it the computer sticky-thing!"
- Earlier on, Phil refers to risotto as "that rice thing".
- California Doubling: The scenes that are obviously Manhattan were really filmed there, but almost everything else wasn't. All or most of the car chase was filmed in downtown Los Angeles, and both Phil and Claire's house and the house Claire is shown trying to sell in the beginning are located on the same street in Pasadena, rather than somewhere in New Jersey.
- The Cameo: Fellow The Daily Show alums Sam Bee and Jason Jones of appear early on as a couple.
- Will.i.am. "From Fergie!"
- Chekhov's Gun: A number of things, but most importantly Claire's "counting to three" threat.
- Also notable is the gun Phil notices in Holbrook's apartment, which Phil later uses in Taste's apartment, and more importantly, when the cops notice Phil and Claire in the car.
- Chekhov's Gunman: D.A. Frank Crenshaw is seen early in the film giving a speech about cleaning up the streets. He turns out to be the subject of the blackmail material mobster boss Joe Miletto has.
- Depraved Bisexual: William Fichtner's character, the District Attorney.
- Dirty Cop
- Dream Team
- Dueling Stars Movie
- Eating the Eye Candy: The Fan Service entry.
- Even the Guys Want Him: Phil's weird sex fantasy now involves Holbrooke after meeting him.
- Fan Service: Mark Wahlberg without a shirt. Heavily lampshaded.
- Faux Fluency: Holbrooke's few painful words of Hebrew make it clear that there's no way Mark Wahlberg could have actually understood his character's Israeli girlfriend.
- Funny Foreigner: Holbrooke's Israeli girlfriend, who asks if Claire and Phil want to "making sex" with her and Holbrooke.
- Gangsta Style: See top when Carell freaks out at this.
- Hilarious Outtakes: These offer us a look at what happens when Carell and Fey's improvisation goes awry.
- Hilarity Ensues
- Hypocritical Humor: Whippit calling Claire a "skank".
- Hot Mom: Claire Foster.
- Innocent Innuendo: almost all of Claire's dialogue to Holbrooke.
- Ironic Echo: after Phil convinces Claire to go through with the stripper act, she repeats his own words to him when the DA wants them both.
- Earlier, Phil and Claire come across a couple who've lost their money and IDs - then thanks to the crooked cops, the exact same thing happens to them.
- Played for laughs when Phil and Claire's conversation of what their married life has become is echoed by Taste and Whippit... kind of.
- It Got Worse: After the first 10 minutes, this movie becomes the comedic equivalent of this trope.
- Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Strip club Peppermint Hippo stands in for real-life Spearmint Rhino.
- MacGuffin: The flash drive.
- Mexican Standoff: The climax of the film.
- Misery Lit: Parodied in the book Claire reads in book club about a young girl who gets her first period...in Taliban ruled Afghanistan.
- One-Scene Wonder:
- Oh god, that poor taxi driver...
Taxi Driver: WHY AM I GOING BACKWARDS?!
- Plus the Tripplehorns themselves, Taste (James Franco) and Whippit (Mila Kunis).
- Playing Against Type: Tina Fey can do action comedy! Who knew?
- Please Put Some Clothes On: See below.
- Precision F-Strike: "Will you let us come in... will you let us explain everything... and will you, for the love of god... put on a fucking shirt?!"
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: The Fosters, in the course of one night, deal massive amounts of property damage to several cars, commit grand theft auto, drive recklessly / assault citizens with a vehicle, are caught on camera breaking and entering, invade a couple's home, illegally access the GPS chip in a cell phone, assault two police officers, and possibly obstruct justice. We never see any sort of comeuppance on their behalf, and it's almost implied that since they helped break the case, they get to walk off scot-free.
- Somewhat justified in that they bring down a conspiracy that goes all the way up to the district attorney. Any subsequent attempt to prosecute them would look like retribution. Though they will end up paying Holbrooke for his Audi (would YOU cross him after what they saw?)
- Running Gag: Everyone acting all offended that the main character's took the Tripplehorns' reservation.
- Scary Black Man: one of the corrupted cops after the Fosters, played by Common no less.
- Shout-Out: At the beginning, Phil talks to Brad and they bring up Long Duk Dong from Sixteen Candles.
- "At these prices, the crab had better sing and dance and introduce us to The Little Mermaid."
- Sexy Shirt Switch: "Oh look, that's where your shirt went..."
- This Is Gonna Suck: the Audi-with-a-taxi-stuck-to-it chase scene ends with a "BLOOOOW MEEEEE!!" when Phil and the taxi go (literally) screaming into the East River.
- Those Two Bad Guys: The two corrupt cops who are chasing the Fosters.
- Unspoken Plan Guarantee: Seems that all Phil had to do to ensure his plans succeed is to not explain them, either onscreen or to his wife.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Mark Wahlberg's character Holbrooke, much to Claire's delight and Phil's annoyance. Might be an Actor Allusion, as in his rapper days, Wahlberg often performed shirtless and appeared in Calvin Klein ads.
- What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous? The Fosters just took someone else's reservation! Just walked up and took it! What kind of people do that?