Game Night – Review

Kylie Bunbury as Michelle, Lamorne Morris as Kevin, Billy Magnussen as Ryan, Sharon Horgan as Sarah, Jason Bateman as Max and Rachel McAdams as Annie in Game Night – Courtesy of Roadshow Entertainment.

From the writers of Vacation (2015) and Spiderman: Homecoming (2016) audiences are certainly rolling the dice on this comedy; however Game Night succeeds as a slapstick black comedy where only few films have in recent years.

Writers John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have put away their pens to direct this unexpected comedy – Game Night follows the story of a married couple (Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams) both with an unhealthy competitive drive to win; they find themselves embarking on a game night with seemingly real stakes and the constant doubt of what is real and what is fake.

The moment this film opens audiences are met with a quick pace introducing the lead characters in an exciting montage style, this quick style follows through and doesn’t waste time introducing friends, family, and acquaintances that the lead characters are involved with. Game Night is a balanced comedy with plenty of elements to satisfy a wide range of audiences, offering crass humour, slapstick, dark, and visual comedy it takes many styles and incorporates them into one. While Game Night mostly favours entertainment value more than leaving you in stitches it makes up for this by offering some fairly constructed character development, a trait that most comedies struggle with.

Both Bateman and McAdams offer up a fun and relaxing performance, however, we aren’t exposed to overly unique characters as Bateman offers his usual sarcastic personality with his wit. McAdams integrates a more charming and light-hearted tone and it’s nice to see her take another comedy role, though she’s not Regina George. McAdam’s does a perfectly good job as the fun supportive wife as Bateman does as the overly competitive husband. We are also met with a slew of interesting supporting characters that mix and match in interesting ways. Alongside the nicely crafted lead characters, the film also contains a large cast that all manage to have a strong sense of chemistry, this chemistry kept each scene feeling fresh and with no character being overused, despite there being some moments that push their personalities a tad too far.

Accompanying this film’s nicely developed pace and character chemistry is some of the best camera-work I’ve ever seen in a standard comedy film. Many of the transition shots in the film offered some eyebrow-raising reactions, with a “tilt-shift” style used throughout created a board-game effect throughout the film, we are also offered a fantastic one-take that blew me away, further supporting these directors as a developing unit, still early in their careers. The music in this film while interesting was rather jarring and felt slightly obscure for the tone, I am however thankful it didn’t resort to blaring generic pop music to fill in the gaps and at least tried something a little different. The way this film was constructed leaves me with some confidence in how they can handle their upcoming projects, though they have had their ups and downs in the past this film is a clear sign that both John and Jonathan are continually evolving individuals.

In the end Game Night stands confidently as a worthy 2 hour feature, with enough quirks to keep most audiences satisfied. Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have honed their craft and managed to develop a super entertaining flick with some truly impressive technical achievements for a comedy. Game Night is on the upper-end of your standard comedy film and probably stands as one of the better comedies in the past 2 years.

6.7/10

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