US (15+). Tina Fey, Steve Carell, Ray Liotta
This dumb and mostly fun fish-out-of-water comedy would be far more dumb and much less fun if it wasn’t for some relatively amusing casting and a punchy running time that acknowledges the limits of its script. Fey and Carell are Claire and Phil Foster, a married New Jersey couple who have watched their love life dwindle and their social diary gather cobwebs, who decide that a ‘date night’ away from the kids is well overdue. But when Phil, in a moment of unusual boldness, steals the reservation of the mysterious ‘Triplehorns’ in a trendy Manhattan restaurant, they find themselves the unlikely target of gangsters headed by a self-mocking Ray Liotta.
The script is lowest-common-denominator stuff – a case of mistaken identity, car chases, strip clubs, boat rides – but the rapport between Carell and Fey is easy to warm to and an episode involving a shirtless Mark Wahlberg as an old friend of Claire’s who challenges Phil’s uneasy masculinity provokes genuine laughs. Fey and Carell are far better than this, but when the other options in the action-romcom territory include Jennifer Aniston’s The Bounty Hunter, who’s complaining?