This is a terrific movie. I saw it in theaters, and then again this weekend as I recently found it for cheap at Wal-mart. I watched it on my own ‘date night,’ and the movie almost made me feel guilty because watching a movie is our typical routine; I’m now inspired to be more like the Fosters and change it up a little bit.
Phil and Claire Foster are a solid married couple with kids. They are very busy and perpetually exhausted, but they have a good relationship. They are a team, and they have a longstanding weekly date night tradition. They are a great couple to root for and to idolize. They aren’t perfect, but they obviously love each other and are committed to putting in the effort to make their marriage work, and over the course of the movie they resolve many of their issues in a healthy way. (And, they are portrayed by Steve Carell and Tina Fey, two of my favorite comedy geniuses, so that’s another reason to love ’em).
Here’s an example of the way the Fosters are a connected couple even while they are stuck in their ‘routine’ date night (at the same place every week, ordering the same food):
This is a movie about making a good relationship better, about not letting your routine sap away the romance, about learning how to really work together, (Claire has a hard time letting Phil help her with their household responsibilities, saying “It’s just better if I do it myself”), and about making the decision to be proactive in saving your marriage. Towards the beginning, another couple confide to their friends that they are divorcing, having decided that things were boring and unsatisfying and they had become “just really good roommates.” That is a common position in our culture today; this relationship isn’t working for me anymore, I’m not happy, I want better/different things, so it’s over.
The Fosters aren’t necessarily “happy.” They are definitely frustrated. Their lives aren’t filled with excitement. And yeah, they are really good roommates. But that’s not all they are. They are also a man and woman who truly love and care for each other, even if they don’t always seem to appreciate the others’ efforts. And their response to the news of their friends’ divorce is to say, let’s do something different. Let’s go on a real date, let’s get dressed up, let’s try to put some sparkle into our routine, let’s not let that become us. It’s an incredibly refreshing and positive message.
The film earns it’s PG-13 rating, so it’s not a family film, but young adults and up should definitely take the time to check out this excellent, positive and realistic example of a healthy marriage relationship. Besides, it’s funny!