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Rom-com Chemistry Makes Box-Office Magic for 'Date Night''s Fey and Carell. Who Else Has It?

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Date Night almost squeezed past the 3-D Clash of the Titans as the weekend's No. One box-office hit. Why? It sure as hell isn't the movie, which is the same old rom-com hooey. What works is the comedy chemistry between 30 Rock's Tina Fey and The Office's Steve Carell in their first screen pairing. If you don't think it's hard for stars to make a sparky on-camera connection, take a look at Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler falling flat in The Bounty Hunter. And remember Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in Leap Year? Of course you don't, there was nothing to remember. Or suffer the torment of watching a dozen couples fail to ignite in Valentine's Day. The Princess and the Frog generated more heat.

Unless I'm nuts, Fey and Carell win the rom-com chemistry prize by default for 2010 so far. I liked Ben Stiller and newcomer Greta Gerwg in Greenberg, but their fuse fizzled almost the minute it was lit. As I see it, the closest a screen couple has come in recent years to capturing the Woody Allen-Diane Keaton Annie Hall chemistry is Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel in (500) Days of Summer.

Am I wrong? Give me names. No fair counting KStew and RPattz. The Twilight movies aren't comedies, at least officially. Who's out there with the knack for blending sex and laughs?

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Peter Travers

Rolling Stone senior writer Peter Travers has reviewed movies for the magazine for more than 20 years. Send your comments and questions to him here.

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