Game Night is a dark comedy mystery film directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein and written by Mark Perez. The film stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and Jesse Plemons.
The Story/The Direction:
Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) host a game night with their other game-loving friends every week. One week, Max's older brother, Brooks (Chandler) shows up to play. He humiliating childhood memories of Max and shows why Max feels lacking in comparison to him so much to cause fertility issues. As Brooks offers to host the next game night, he promises the prize of a classic Corvette Stingray. The following week, he explains that he has hired a company to host a murder-mystery party, but things do not go as planned when very real criminals show up and kidnap Brooks. Max, Annie, and their friends think this is all part of the game and then go in search of Brooks. They soon realize that this whole thing is very real. The script by Perez provides a good amount of laugh out loud moments that keep the film feel fresh in comparison to other films in this genre of comedy such as last year’s Rough Night. There is a scene that involves wine, a pocket knife, and a YouTube video that is particularly hilarious. The movie moves along quite quickly with its plot twists and funny pop-culture references.
While the majority of the cast is serviceable, the highlight is McAdams. While not her first outing in the comedic genre as she previously starred in Mean Girls and Wedding Crashers, she is mostly known for her dramatic roles like in Spotlight. McAdams is a delight and this film shows how she can act in both serious and hilarious characters. She and Bateman have some great chemistry though the latter is no different than his previous roles. They do however feel like a real couple who love each other thanks to their timing and small reactions to one another. Their relationship is the core of this film and helps this film stand out more than it should as the absurd situations that they are put in provides the majority of the humor. In addition, Plemmons is pretty hilarious as the creepy neighbor, Gary.
While Bateman and McAdams are the main highlights, the rest of the cast is pretty replaceable. This is not to say that the actors are bad but anyone could have been them. Their development is almost non-existent aside from premarital infidelity and the dumbest guy to be admitted into Harvard becoming a good person. The latter also feels really out of place as there's no real indication of how he became friends with any of them. Furthermore, while Annie and Max's relationship feels real, their relationship to their friends feels forced and contrived. The audience ends up not really caring for them aside from being butts of a joke or relatively weak plot point in comparison to Max and Annie's relationship. Lastly, the film could have ended a little sooner than it did.
This film is a good amount of fun and while it may not leave a huge lasting impression, it has enough parts to keep audience members entertained for its tad long 90-minute runtime. McAdams and her chemistry with Bateman are great. The jokes also did not always hit but when they did, they were gold. This good film is worth checking out as a matinee or on VOD later on.
Rating: 3.5/5.0 bowties
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