Game Night Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Seven friends, one night, and a big prize to win. Game Night uses the amusement of such get-togethers successfully, giving the night a special twist.
Director: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Billy Magnussen, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Danny Huston, Zerrick Williams, Joshua Mikel, Michael Cyril Creighton & Michael C. Hall.
Run Time: 100 min.
US Release: 23 February 2018
UK Release: 02 March 2018
German Release: 01 March 2018
I’ll be absolutely honest, after the comedy disaster of 2015 that was Vacation, in which Goldstein and Daley already co-worked as directors, I was expecting cheap jokes but not many laughs! Well, I could not have been more wrong, as Game Night proves to be a much-needed breeze of fresh air for this genre’s segment. Having said that, I do not recommend watching the trailers If you are planning on seeing this in cinemas. The second trailer especially gives away to much, not doing the film any justice!
A group of friends meet once a week for game nights. When Max’s (Bateman) brother Brooks (Chandler) barges into one of their get-togethers, insulting Max and taking over the organisation, Max and his wife Annie (McAdams) swear to win his “murder mystery” to humiliate him, not realising that a real crime just happened. This leads to a string of hysterical scenarios, with the characters put in most ridiculous situations.
The plot, as well as the writing, is way better and far more effective than I had expected! It is a well-paced story, staying interesting throughout its 100-minute runtime. Funny enough, it is also somewhat of a relatable account, at least up until a point in the narrative, where it just gets absolutely ludicrous. The viewer, though, is able to sympathise with all participants of the game night. What I found best, however, is the way this comedy pokes fun at the various clichés established by gangster or horror flicks, as well as taking potshots at the different types of couples and singles. This makes for an amusing dating movie, which ironically reminded me a lot of 2010’s Date Night, starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey.
The story is not without flaws, though! For a movie that pokes holes at so many banalities in films, it makes use of enough clichés itself to uphold the plot structure. The last act, in which several revelations are made that test the disbelief of the most gullible moviegoer, is just too much. Yet, it is still pleasing to watch how it ends with a huge, if not clichéd, bang! The dialogue, on the other hand, is smart and includes quite a bit of movie trivia references, making it partially meta. It is fun to see how these people relate their “murder mystery” party to popular gangster flicks, even paraphrasing some of the best-known lines.
Every character included, no matter the size of their roles contributes to the humorous aspects of this picture. There is not one person that was wasted; each one has their place in the story and serves a purpose, which was great to see!
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple, Max and Annie. Both act as leading characters in this comedy, managing to play jokes perfectly of each other. Bateman and McAdams have fantastic chemistry, making their relationship believable but what is more important is the fact that they are likeable characters! It is great to see McAdams in a light-hearted humorous flick, as she donned more serious roles in her last movies. I completely forgot how funny she can be, especially next to Bateman.
Jesse Plemons is fantastic as Gary, the creepy neighbour who also happens to be a police officer. He steals the show every time he is on screen! Gary went through some rough stages in life but also has a very scary personality. Plemons nailed his character, controlling the fine line of funny and creepy, in each scene he was in.
Considering that most of the narrative takes place at night, this is a very well lit film with a clear picture. Most impressive, however, is how several scenes, entirely made by using CGI, are being applied in this feature; there are aerial shots of the urban area in which the story takes place that looks like a board game with plastic housing. When zooming in, the computer imagery effortlessly blends in with real footage. This technique left me amazed.
Verdict: I was thoroughly impressed with this comedy, especially because I thought that it was going to be a complete catastrophe. Well, I was proven wrong! Mark Perez managed to write an amusing and exciting script that makes use of several film banalities, as well as making fun of human relationships. Those parts are wrapped in a crime-mystery, revolving around a game night of hysterical laughter. The dialogue includes entertaining movie references that are paired with the great performances of the actors. Not one role is sidelined and all contribute to the comedic aspect of the story. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are outstanding as the main couple, but it is Jesse Plemons with his peculiar rendition, that steals each scene he is in! This picture has its shortcomings, though, starting with the fact that it is filled with clichés. Then there is the problem that it includes too many twists and turns, making the last act completely unbelievable. Still, this is one of the better comedies I have seen in recent years and I will give Game Night a 7 out of 10.
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