Date Night (2010) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • In New York City, a case of mistaken identity turns a bored married couple's attempt at a glamorous and romantic evening into something more thrilling and dangerous.

  • Phil and Claire Foster are a couple who have been married for several years. Their days consists of them taking care of their children and going to work and coming home and going to bed. But they find time to have a date night wherein they go out and spend some time together. When another couple they know announce that they're separating because they're in a rut, Phil feels that he and Claire could be too. So when date night comes Phil decides to do something different. So they go into the city and try to get into a new popular restaurant. But when it's full and still wanting to do this, Phil decides to take the reservation of a couple who doesn't show up. While they're having dinner two men approach them and instructs them to stand up and go with them. They think the men are with the restaurant and want to talk to them about taking someone else's reservation. But it appears the couple whose reservation they took crossed someone and the two men work for this person. The men are after something, but whatever it is they don't have it.

  • Married with two children, the loving couple of Phil and Claire Foster--he, a tax lawyer; she, a real estate agent--watch the passion and the desire in their marriage wane, week after week. Is it possible that the daily routine, parenting, and the endless to-do lists are beginning to shake the foundation of this normal, yet overworked couple from New Jersey? Undoubtedly, a proper date night at a chic restaurant in Downtown Manhattan could put some zing into their lacklustre relationship; however, a desperate decision and a hopeless case of impersonation will have the Fosters running from the police and a ruthless crime kingpin. Could this unforeseen misadventure finally reinvigorate Phil and Claire's stale love life?


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Claire (Tina Fey) and Phil Foster (Steve Carell) sleep peacefully in their bedroom, till they're jumped on by their kids, who demand breakfast. During breakfast, Claire gives her daughter a one-two-three warning, and is amazed that it still works. Phil makes the kids' lunches, but he's left all the drawers open, resulting in Claire almost tripping on them. Phil is a New Jersey tax lawyer and Clair is a realtor. When they get back home, they're totally bushed. Katy, their next-door neighbor, drops by to baby-sit the kids, as it's their Date Night. Though neither is really feeling up to it, they go to a restaurant for their date. They have potato skins and salmon (their usual) and watch other couples and analyze their actions, quite comically. Still their date is rather boring and they return home. Phil wants to fool around before sleeping, but Claire's already put in her retainer. He gets grossed out when she removes it and they spend yet another night without sex.

    The next day, they go to their usual book club at their friends', Brad (Mark Ruffalo) and Haley's (Kristen Wiig), house. They're reading some book about a young Afghan girl who's having her first period and is traumatized or something. Phil doesn't seem all that impressed, but the ladies (Phil and Brad are the only guys there) feel sad for the poor fictitious girl. Brad speaks to Phil and tells him that he and Haley are getting divorced, but keeping it under wraps for their kids. They're like perfect roommates, he says, but that's all. While he's sad about it, Haley is excited and tells Claire that she has all the freedom to whatever she wants (like have sex with three strangers). She advises Claire to "walk among the birds."

    The next Date Night, Claire dresses up well. When Phil walks in, he's impressed and decides that they're going to Manhattan for dinner. They go to a fancy restaurant, Claw, without a reservation. The snooty Maitre D' tells them that reservations are taken months in advance and asks them to go to the bar and wait for a table. They go to the crowded bar and wait. Claire is all for leaving and going to a less fancy restaurant, but Phil wants her to have something special. Just then, the hostess calls out, "Tripplehorn, party of two." When no one answers after a while, Phil seizes the moment and shouts, "Us!" much to Claire's surprise. They're shown to their table. Claire is a bit unsure about taking someone else's reservation. The prices are crazy expensive. They clink empty wine glasses, even though Claire notes that it's bad luck. As they eat their overpriced but delicious risotto, they analyze other couples at the restaurant. They notice that Will.I.Am is also there, with his companion. Phil tells Claire to go near Will.I.Am and pose, while he takes a goofy picture of her on her cell phone.

    As they're about to finish, a couple of tough-looking guys - Armstrong (Jimmi Simpson) and Collins (Common) - walk up to their table and address them as the "Tripplehorns." They tell them that they're in trouble. The Fosters think that they've been busted for taking someone else's reservation. Armstrong and Collins escort them outside, where they frisk them and take their IDs and cell phones. Claire and Phil are a bit shocked and ask what this is about. Armstrong pulls out a gun and holds it sideways at Phil, freaking Phil out ("sideways means killshot!"). They tell them that they want the flash drive that they stole from mob boss, Joe Miletto, and are now using as blackmail. As the situation gets tenser, Phil says that he has the flash drive and that it's in Central Park.

    The four of them go to Central Park (in the Fosters' car) and pull up to a deserted spot. Claire wishes that Phil had chosen a more populated spot. Phil, thinking that night-boating is prevalent in New York, tells them that the drive is in the boathouse. They go to the boathouse and bust inside. Claire tries to act as if Phil's got a condition with his penis and that they need to get back to the car for his medication. Instead, he tells her to "get the flash drive". He directs her to a dark corner of the boathouse. As the two gunmen and Claire look for it, Phil seizes an oar and knocks the two gunmen out and runs out with Claire. They jump onto a boat and Phil guns the engine as hard as he can... only to find that they've chosen the slowest boat in New York! As they inch closer to the other bank, the two gunmen open fire at them. Phil and Claire duck into the boat, to evade the bullets. When they (finally) get to the other side, they hold the boat upside-down on their heads as protection and run blindly through the woods, screaming bloody murder. Bumping into a tree, they drop the boat and climb up a wall and emerge into a crowded place. The hoods, however, lose them and are livid. Phil throws up quite a bit.

    They go to the police station where they speak to Detective Arroyo (Taraji P. Henson) about their ordeal, mentioning Joe Miletto. When she hears that they took someone else's reservation, she's a bit disgusted. As they speak, Claire notices the two gunmen have entered the place - they're cops, for crying out loud! She hints to the still-unaware Phil that they have to "go visit their gay friends for dinner." When he sees them, they duck down, much to Arroyo's bemusement. They start rambling about having to go, but Arroyo sternly tells them to stay put. The bad cops notice them. Just then, Arroyo is called outside by her partner, Detective Walsh. The Fosters take to their heels and run out. Outside the station, they both start freaking out, realizing that Joe Miletto has cops in his pocket and that they can't trust anyone. Claire wants to go home, but Phil tells her that the bad cops have their IDs and will know where they live. Scared about their kids' well-being, they call Katy from a payphone, and tell her to stay longer and get the kids out of the house. They have to promise to pay Katy a lot more, before they notice the bad cops coming and run. Claire asks what a flash drive is and, after Phil explains, says that she calls it a "computer sticky thing".

    They're on the run and scared. Claire asks what they're going to do. Phil says that they have to find the real Tripplehorns, as they'll have the flash drive. To do that though, they'll have to go back to Claw again. They act as a pair of snooty glitterati-types (Phil wears his jacket on backwards) and speak to the hostess (who gave them their table). He acts like he knows Will.I.Am and that he left his cell phone at Will's table. He goes to the table with the hostess, while Claire finds out the Tripplehorns' number in the reservation register and writes it down. When they leave (after running into the hard glass door of Claw), Claire tells Phil that one of her clients (a private eye or something) will be able to help them track down that number. First she needs to break into her realty office and find his address. After breaking in, they look around, as the alarm blares. Claire finds the address for Grant Holbrooke. She hits her knee on a drawer left open by Phil. They escape before the security can show up.

    Detectives Arroyo and Walsh visit Joe Miletto (Ray Liotta) at one of his clubs and ask him what his beef is with the Fosters. He feigns ignorance and tells them to get out and not come back without a warrant. After they leave, he calls up Collins and asks if they have a problem.

    Meanwhile, the Fosters go to Holbrooke's place. They buzz his apartment. After Claire reintroduces herself, he buzzes them in. As they climb up, Phil is impressed that Claire can remember her clients so well. When the door opens, he sees why. There stands Grant Holbrooke (Mark Wahlberg), shirtless, muscles bulging everywhere. Phil is understandably not too happy, while Claire is understandably extremely happy to be there. When they tell him their full story, he agrees to help them find the Tripplehorns. They give him the phone number. Holbrooke's oh-so-hot Israeli girlfriend comes inside and (in broken English) asks if they're here to have sex with them. When they say no, she's relieved, telling Holbrooke in Hebrew that "they look old and weak."

    Meanwhile, a detective informs Arroyo about the break-in at Claire's realty office and that they were looking for a Grant Holbrooke's address. The bad cops, Armstrong and Collins, hear this and butt in, asking about the Fosters. Arroyo, smelling something rotten about the dirty cops, blows them off. The bad cops "leave for the day."

    Holbrooke takes the Fosters into his office, where he's got quite an awesome computer set-up with Minority Report-style monitors. Using some high tech satellite tracking and stuff, he manages to find out about the Tripplehorns. The cell phone is registered to Tom Felton. He gives them the address. Just then, the bad cops buzz the apartment. Claire freaks out a bit, but Holbrooke tells them to go out from his garage. As they wait for the cops to enter the building, they steal one of Holbrooke's expensive sports cars and drive off. As they drive, Phil wants to know why she was so flirty and charming with Holbrooke. Why can't she light up for him the same way? Claire gets mad and tells him that she goes through a horrible day every day in the office and at home. Phil says that Claire never lets Phil do anything, because she's afraid he'll mess up. She brings up his leaving drawers open and the number of times she's hurt herself as a result. She tells him that sometimes she dreams of being alone for a day. They calm a bit and talk about Brad and Haley, how's they're like "perfect roommates" and how they don't want to end up like them.

    They drive over to the Feltons' place. They buzz the apartment, but they get no answer. Phil decides to go up using the fire escape. When they climb up to the apartment, they see the place is quite a dump. As they quietly go through the place, Claire bumps into a stack of VHS tapes, causing them to fall on her, making a loud noise. The Feltons enter from the adjoining room and rush the Fosters. Phil pulls out an antique gun (which he stole from Holbrooke's apartment) and orders them to sit and answer his questions. The Feltons are Tom "Taste" Felton (James Franco) and Whippit (Mila Kunis). They trade insults with the Fosters for a bit, though Phil isn't exactly great at it, and then quarrel between themselves. As the Feltons squabble, the Fosters realize that their lives are not all that different. Phil asks about the flash drive that they stole. He says that the bad cops are after them. On hearing this, Taste gives Phil the flash drive, telling him that since Miletto thinks they're the Tripplehorns, they can return it themselves. He tells Whippit to start packing as they've practiced. After a long kiss, the Feltons leave via the fire escape, leaving the thoroughly bewildered Fosters behind. The Fosters leave.

    Detectives Arroyo and Walsh go to Holbrooke's place to question him about the Fosters. He tells them that he's already spoken to the other cops and that they should ask them. Arroyo asks about these "other cops."

    Just as the Fosters get into Holbrooke's sportscar, they're fired upon by Armstrong and Collins. As they race down a one-way street, they collide into a taxi head-on. Now the two cars are stuck together. They try reversing, but to no avail. With the bad cops on their tail, Phil is forced to drive forward, taking the taxi and the terrified driver along for the ride. As they drive, Phil tells Claire to take the wheel and climbs through the open windshield into the taxi, to stop the cabbie from pushing down on the brakes. He asks if the cabbie has a laptop or something to read the flash drive on. The cabbie has a Kindle. When Phil turns it on, he notices the same book that the book club was reading, about the Afghan menstruation thing ("Really?"). He looks at the drive's contents on the Kindle and sees pornographic photos of DA Frank Crenshaw on it. He's a DA who says he wants to clean up the streets and actually carries a broom around. Now they're being chased by other police cruisers as well as by the dirty cops. Phil tells Claire to turn. She does, causing her to go in reverse while pulling the taxi. As they turn, they find that the road is blocked by cops and cruisers. The cabbie takes charge and tells Claire to stop inches away from the cruisers and accelerate forward. They escape the cops, as the other moving cruisers and the dirty cops' car crashes into the blockade. As they celebrate their escape, they get jackknifed by an SUV, that finally separates them. Claire manages to stop the sports car, but the taxi's brakes are shot. The cabbie bails and Phil and the cab splash into the river. He manages to swim back ashore, but the flash drive is gone.

    Detective Arroyo arrives at the scene of the cruiser pile-up and enquires why Armstrong and Collins are there. They give her a story, but she doesn't seem to buy it. She tells them to leave.

    The Fosters take the subway. Phil is wearing Holbrooke's tracksuit (which he got from the smashed-up sportscar). Claire asks what was on the flash drive. Phil says that it was a ledger about DA Frank Crenshaw and his activities with prostitutes in the Peppermint Hippo Bar. They realize that the Feltons were not blackmailing Joe Miletto, but the district attorney, and those dirty cops are working for him. With nowhere else to turn, they return to Holbrooke's house, where he answers the door, again shirtless. They need his help, but he says he's not interested. Phil pleads with him, saying he has a plan. He ends his heartfelt plea by asking Holbrooke to please, please put on a shirt!

    The Fosters go to the Peppermint Hippo Bar. They speak to the bouncer outside, acting as pimp (Phil) and hooker (Claire). He lets them in. Claire goes into a ladies changing room and puts on a rather sexy costume. Phil's eyes almost pop out when he sees her. He's impressed and a bit aroused. They go through the raunchy bar and find out that DA Crenshaw's in a private room. Phil gives Claire a pep talk, telling her to "pop that koochie". They go towards the private room and are told to look at the camera. They're both let inside, because Crenshaw wants Phil as well. He's appalled, but Claire gives him the same pep talk, telling him to "swing that pole."

    Inside, they see DA Crenshaw, sitting in a corner, living it up with three hookers at his side. He sees them and says he likes Claire and Phil also, as he thinks he's androgynous. He tells them to dance on a pole. The Fosters do a rather vanilla dance, which the DA doesn't like. So they "spice it up," quite awkwardly and hilariously, but finally the DA starts to like it a lot. After the dance, the DA is interested and asks them how much for a night with Claire. Phil and Claire introduce themselves as "the Tripplehorns." Just then, the dirty cops show up and, holding guns at them, take them to the roof of the bar. Crenshaw tells Phil that if he doesnt hand over the drive immediately, he'll have Claire's arms broken. Phil lies, saying that the drive is with Holbrooke. Collins confirms that Holbrooke is ex-military and the "real deal." Just then, Miletto enters with his goons and also asks about the flash drive. Phil lets slip that the drive contained pornographic pictures of DA Crenshaw. Crenshaw is shocked and confronts Miletto, saying he thought they were ledgers that proved he was corrupt. Miletto tells him that he was protecting him. The situation deteriorates and soon all the bad guys are holding guns at each other, in a Mexican Standoff. Claire starts to freak out, but Phil calms her down, telling her to do the "one-two-three warning." She gets mad and yells at everyone that she's had it and that everybody had better put their guns down before she counts to three. ONE... TWO..... THREE!

    At the count of three, the cops burst in and soon all bad guys are arrested, without a shot being fired. Detective Arroyo approaches the Fosters and takes them aside. Phil gives her a tape of the incriminating conversations among the bad guys. She has the DA and Miletto arrested on quite a few charges, including prostitution. She asks the Fosters what their story is. Claire tiredly replies that they're just a boring couple that wanted to have a nice quiet dinner. She offers to drop them home, but Phil says that he promised his wife a good meal.

    They go to a diner, where they eat pancakes. They say they should do this again soon, except without the guns and violence. He tells Claire he'd choose her, 'every time.' Claire smiles and sits next to Phil on his side of the booth. They return home by late morning. At the door, they lay down on the lawn and kiss for a looong time.

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