A Date Night with The Thin Man

I went into Date Night not expecting that much. I knew (or hoped) that Tina Fey and Steve Carell would make a great comedy pairing. I was concerned, however, that their respective television characters (Liz Lemon and Michael Scott) would outshine their roles in this film. Sometimes that happened; when two actors portray two of the most recognizable characters on television that comparison is impossible to avoid.

I ended up enjoying Date Night, even though it could have been so much more. But what occurred to me midway through the movie was that Phil and Claire Foster are no Nick and Nora Charles.

Date Night is one of the better attempts to update the screwball comedy. But it relies heavily on genre conventions (of other genres that is) to carry out a sort-of funny story. Maybe I’m old-fashioned or just completely mesmerized by Myrna Loy (probably a bit of both) but dialogue like “…And will you, for the love of God, put on a f-ing shirt?” just is not funny to me. I’d much rather watch Loy and William Powell banter all day.

No matter what screwball comedy comes next, The Thin Man still does it best. Unless, of course, Fey and Carell pair up again, but for a wittier, sharper, and less contrived movie. Then Nick and Nora might have found their present-day equivalent.

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