A hedged bet, marital comedy cum action thriller, with a “boring” New Jersey couple enlivening their stale marriage by getting themselves mistaken for high-stakes blackmailers. Tina Fey will never in her lifetime use up the eternal gratitude she earned for her role in the 2008 presidential campaign (the faux Palin), and her intelligence intermittently peeks through the constant crassness, if only by stark contrast. Steve Carell, not so smartly, armors himself in protective irony, sort of like Jack Lemmon in quotation marks when we want Jack Lemmon straight. He never for an instant lets us feel that after the adventure is over, he’ll be obliged to return to suburbia. A parade of familiar faces, amounting almost to a “stellar” cast, substitutes to some extent for the dearth of laughs: Mark Wahlberg, Mark Ruffalo, Kristen Wiig, Taraji P. Henson, Ray Liotta, William Fichtner, James Franco, Mila Kunis, and, as himself, Will.i.am. Directed by Shawn Levy. (2010) — Duncan Shepherd
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