I wonder how many married couples out there can attest to their lifestyle being nothing but revolving around work, family and especially kids, with the latter just sapping whatever free time they have in their waking hours, only to find themselves stuck in a wash-rinse-repeat cycle. The film examines in a comical fashion of course, the lifestyle of the typical family with working parents and young children, and how there isn't anything known as personal time, and having routine becoming the rot in their lives.
For the Fosters Phil (Steve Carell) and Claire (Tina Fey), such is their married life, with spontaneity and energy being sucked so dry, even their regular date nights seem like a chore. You know, that precious night where you think you can paint the town red with a babysitter looking after the kids, and the sad thing being that even that can turn out to be lifeless, save for their favourite game played during dinner, where they adlib what they think about other diners around them.
Which is pretty cool, given that the two comedians, as the blooper reel played during the end credits showed, hammed it up a lot with awesome ad-libbing and improvisation, that never fail to bring on the laughter. In fact, opportunities where they are cut loose and allowed to go really crazy, are some of the best parts of the film, breathing comedic life into a very simple story of how their, well, little white lie in order to get a table at a swanky restaurant, would turn their date night upside down into a crazy urban adventure, filled with thugs, cops, and well, a beefy Mark Wahlberg.
If I had a physique similar to Wahlberg's security expert Holbrooke, heck I'll strut around topless as well all the time, which serves as a running joke about Man's insecurities about the pectorals and abs of another. One of the nicer themes here involves how couples, beside spending time together, have to emotionally connect and be honest and upfront about their desires, and especially fears as well. In between pursuits and comedy, director Shawn Levy pauses the pace appropriately to inject some dramatic elements to sneak in a moment or two to examine just that, before stepping on the pedal to floor the film to its finale.
Like I mentioned, it's otherwise a very straightforward film that doesn't try to be more than it can be, keeping things simple and to the point, with great cameo appearances with the likes of Will.I.Am, Mark Ruffalo, James Franco and Mila Kunis being those instantly recognizable. Carell and Fey share an excellent chemistry and play off each other's antics really well from wit to the timing of their physical comedy, and you'll find yourself rooting for this average, normal couple, to be going one up against their adversaries in a single nighttime adventure, since all they want is to get out of their predicament, and back to their home and children like all parents do.
Stay until the end of the credits if you didn't have enough of the restaurant scene where Carell and Fey pose as arrogant Euro-trash, for additional laughs.