An extremely clever script mixed with brilliant comedic performances from both Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams make Game Night an entertaining treat.
A couple named Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) enjoy getting together with their group of friends on weekends for a fun and entertaining game night which often includes charades and various board games. Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up one weekend to play game night with the group. After an entertaining night, Brooks invites Max and Annie to a game night that will be hosted as his house, to which the two agree to do so. However, when the day eventually arrives, and the couple go to Brooks’ house, absolute chaos strikes mixed with comedic mishaps also occurring throughout the night.
This film is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, which, before going to see Game Night, I was extremely nervous going in, because the two previously directed the 2015 Vacation remake, which was disastrous. Virtually nothing about that ninety-nine minute, unfunny film worked. The same cannot be said however for Game Night, as it is wonderfully directed, and has a surprisingly witty script by Mark Perez.
Bateman brings his all in Game Night, and proves to be one of the funniest actors working today. Practically every time he was on screen, laughter was sure to ensue, and his character has a likeability about him that will have you rooting for him all the way through. The best aspect of Game Night however is McAdams as Annie. She is not a film character that is completely oblivious to things going on around her for almost the entire motion picture. When things quickly take a turn for the worse in the film’s opening thirty minutes, people are oblivious to things unfolding in front of their eyes, but that quickly changes. McAdams is also a scene-stealer, as her dialogue had me laughing consistently throughout this one hundred minute mystery comedy. Additionally, her character of Annie is not reliant on a man to save her in every scene, either, which is something extremely praise-worthy. Some of the most hilarious and entertaining scenes in the film occur with her fighting some of the film’s antagonists.
Tone is a big issue with Game Night unfortunately. We can literally watch a scene in which an individual has just gotten kidnapped and some even killed, and then the next scene we see two characters discussing if they want to have a baby or not. Going from one scene being so brutal and dark to instant comedy can be a bit jarring from time to time. Viewers will more than likely get used to it after awhile much like myself, but it took a little bit of time.
Game Night also suffers occasionally from a rushed script. Many scenes feel like set up scenes for the next big scene which will be bolder and funnier, but it would have been nice to ease off the brakes for a bit to let the script breathe. It would not have been a bother to me if the film was a tad longer, as the characters are indeed likeable and it is loaded with comedy throughout to keep audiences laughing and entertained. A longer running time more than likely would not have gotten on most viewers’ nerves due to these factors. The film also looks marvellous thanks to great cinematography by Barry Peterson.
If you have a big group of friends you want to go see Game Night with, it is highly recommended. At its core, the film itself is about friendship, family, and teaming up with one another, so it would be great to see the film with friends.
Extraordinarily clever and funny, Game Night stands out significantly amongst the crowd of rather dull comedy films released in recent years. Furthermore, great performances by Bateman and Adams make the film an amazingly engaging watch.
To watch my video review for Game Night, please click this link: https://youtu.be/LytVq9QK1UQ
Overall Grade: B+
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual references and some violence
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan
Directed by: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Running Time: 100 minutes