Hope Springs

 Hope Springs might seem like a typical romantic comedy, even though it has some atypical, older-than-average stars.

Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones portray a couple who have been married for over thirty years. The wife, Kay, decides she wants something more for their marriage, so she signs them up for a week of “intensive therapy.” Let the movies of hilarity and awkwardness begin!

One interesting thing Hope Springs does is illustrate that issues in marriages, while perhaps appearing to be caused by one person, in reality have their roots in the behavior of both people. The real surprise of the movie, however, is probably Steve Carell as the therapist, Dr. Feld. He’s an excellent actor, so I was curious to see how he would play a character that wasn’t driven by comedy. He nailed it. He sits in a chair for most of the movie, but still maintains the necessary gravitas and empathy for the character. Both Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep were excellent, but we shouldn’t expect any less from them.

Hope Springs was an engaging and enjoyable movie, sometimes painful in its realism. If you don’t get a chance to watch it in theaters, I recommend you watch it when it’s available on DVD.

Dinner for Schmucks

I like Steve Carell, so I usually watch his movies.  It took me a while to get around to Dinner for Schmucks.  There were some definite moments with Carell, but the rest of the movie was strange.

It was more bizarre than funny.  The one thing that rang true is that there are people who will entertain themselves by laughing at people they think are “stupid.”

I think I need to re-watch Dan in Real Life. Now that’s a good movie.

Both Steve Carell and Tina Fey have become popular in recent years, and for good reason.  They are able to do comedy without relying on ridiculous pratfalls and borderline vulgarity. Because of this, I was curious to see what Date Night would be like.

Date Night is driven by the witty humor of both actors, and is a giant step above many of the "comedies" of recent years.  Phil and Claire Foster, played by Carell and Fey, are a normal couple who encounter trouble in a proverbial "wrong place-wrong time" situation.  The hilarity of the movie comes from how they try to extricate themselves from the situation.  They alternately have freak-out moments and moments of almost criminal brilliance.  It was particularly hilarious seeing them pretend to be "the people" of a celebrity.

While there are a few unbelievable moments, it is quite good as a whole.  The comedy never lags, the witticisms continue, and the acting is good.  Date Night is an excellent movie–it is simultaneously cleaner and more humorous than many recent comedies.  It showcases the abilities of both Carell and Fey, and manages to tell a good story at the same time.