Last week I found myself in St. Paul, and I did what any reasonable person with an evening free in one of the Twin Cities would do: I took the bus to the Mall of America to see "Date Night." Now, I can hear your arguments. But what about the great music scene, you ask, Couldn't you have done some simple research and have found where Prince was hosting a top-secret jam session? Yes, I answer, I could have done that. But sometimes you just want to be in the vicinity of tax-free shopping with the inky blackness of the multiplex washing over you.
A quick side note about taking the 54 bus from St. Paul to the Mall of America (located in nearby Bloomington). Do NOT be embarrassed when you get off at the Minneapolis Airport, thinking you have arrived at the Mall of America. They are both titans of industry easily confused with each other. I am sure even lifelong St. Paulians often stop short in front of the Delta counter, realizing they are nowhere near a Build-A-Bear or J. Crew. "Shucks," they chuckle to themselves as they finger one of the fishing lures dangling off their all-weather anorak, "Looks like I got off a coupla stops early again." Regardless, the busdriver will be very accommodating when you scramble back on the bus and you will NOT be looked at with weary contempt by the rest of the passengers.
"Date Night" itself was delightful. It is pretty much what you expect and funny enough that I just pretended all of the shmucky stuff about relationships ("You never believe in me!" "I have to do everything!") wasn't happening. My biggest takeaway was that Steve Carrell and Tina Fey were generous enough to let the large supporting cast all have their moment in the sun. Mark Wahlberg, James Franco, Mila Kunis and Kristen Wiig all get ample room to strut their stuff, and even the lady from "Gossip Girl" gets to sneak a bit in. This generosity seemed particularly refreshing since the majority of supporting performances in Mike Myers or Adam Sandler movies consist of Maxim models making "You're hilarious" reaction shots as the main character mugs it up. So it was nice to watch a comedy where everyone was allowed to play. All told, it's not a classic, but certainly a pleasant diversion and I hope it makes enough money so Carrell, Fey and friends can make another movie together.