While films like Black Panther rule the box office, there are other movies that have released that you should notice. One such film takes a social get-together that takes place in bars and family living rooms to a whole new level. With the help of comedic veterans like Jason Bateman and newcomers to the big screen, Game Night has the potential to become a sleeper fan favorite of the year.
(This review is spoiler-free)
Max and Annie (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) are a competitive married couple who express their inner aggression and frustrations in weekly game nights with their friends. But, when Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes back into town and offers to host a game night, he decides to take it to another level. Instead of a regular board game, he decides to host a murder mystery night. One problem: when real kidnappers hi-jack the party and takes Brooks with them, the friends must use their game experience and limited information to solve an actual mystery.
When it comes to certain comedies, especially over the last few years, they come to depend on witty creative writing or high-school sophomore pranks (which can still be funny on occasion). However, staples of R-rated comedies are cheap, raunchy humor to help bring in the audiences. It’s rare that you’ll find a comedy that’s creative and remains entertaining throughout; Game Night proves that it can be done. The directing duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein did a great job of enveloping the audience into the movie and keeping it evenly paced and adding in depth in certain scenes. The movie has an edge, but still light-hearted enough to not get bogged down, adding an atmosphere that assists a well-written, funny script.
In the murky undercurrent of the city, this funny crew we join in this movie keeps things light and hilarious. This movie allows Jason Bateman to deliver his well-known snarky retorts for each character and situation, undermining the drama in a frequently funny way that you don’t even mind it. The entire cast has a solid chemistry, feeding off of each other and allowing jokes not to get stale during the hour and forty minute run time.
When the friends are broken up into teams to solve the game that’s become very real, you would think that the main couple would get the spotlight as with other comedic scripts. However, each group has their own arc and hilarious sequences that keeps the audience laughing. Juggling all of these characters and storylines is not an easy feat, but the success here is a testament to the not only the actors, but the script itself. The breakout stars were Billy Magnussen and Jesse Plemons. He bring the energy as a guy that doesn’t understand social cues but is surprisingly smart in some cases, also thriving on situational humor. Plemons, recently seen on an episode of Netflix’s sci-fi anthology Black Mirror, delivers as their skeptical police officer, Gary. His uncomfortable but hilarious character had you snickering in your seats because we’ve all had that neighbor we’re unsure about; proving to be an expert in generating humor through body language.
Despite how insane the plot seems to get and sometimes moves away from the comedic aspects in the second to third act, Game Night is the rare R-rated comedy that strays from the usual staples I mentioned earlier to create a movie with its own energy and brand of humor that works. The twists and turns make the movie mostly fresh and shows that these comedies can keep audiences interested. This movie is a fun time and shows that mainstream comedy can still be smart and can move away from the generic. So gather your friends for a fun game night.