Game Night seems like an iteration of Date Night starring Steve Carell and Tina Fey with the whole concept of taking the practice of game nights to a whole new level. But this film starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams surprisingly has more than a few tricks up its sleeves, bringing something fresh to the table that’s almost stupefying.
What’s fresh in this film is the concept of a couple brought together by their innate competitive nature along with their love for Game Nights. In a montage that leads to their dance-revolution-inspired wedding reception, it is established how Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) are turned on at the prospect of dominating this event as if their life depended on it. +4
Then there’s the creepy neighbor who’s a cop and an ex-husband of their friend. Gives us stuff that nightmares are made of but also became an effective source of laughs later on. Such a bizarre character played by Jesse Plemons. +3
We also have the colorful game night possé consisting of the stereotypical bonehead jock Ryan (Billy Magnusen), who always brings the typical blonde bimbo date to game night. There’s also the black couple—Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) whose issue throughout the film is the celebrity that Michelle ‘allegedly’ slept with. This dysfunctional bunch adds to the film’s absurdity. +3
Enter: Max’s older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who’s loaded and gloats to his younger sib all the time. It’s his competitiveness plus the skeletons in his closet that convolutes what was supposed to be a simple game night. Then the film just twists and turns around and all over the place quite unexpectedly yet delightfully so. +4
Aside from the interesting story arc that the film presents, it also brings a lot of pockets of humor along the way, most of it very crass and offensive but totally hilarious. Thanks to the perfect comic timing of the cast, some jokes that would have fallen flat, end up being funnier than usual. A particular joke I was dying in laughter about was one involving making fun of Edward Norton. OMG! I died. +3
There’s also a reference to Pulp Fiction which is one of McAdams’ shining moments. Bateman plays his usual character which is effective enough for the film’s objective but McAdams outshines him in this one. +3
Tonally, the film just works as a whole. The filmmaking style is simple with just a few innovations like drones shots set up like shots on a cardboard scale model which is totally explained in the end. That was such a good touch. +3
With a total of 23 points, Game Night is sure to give you a good time at the cinema. Astoundingly, too, it is a pretty good film aside from the humor it brings which in the case of these types of films, is really almost just the main focus. It becomes more than just vignettes of comical moments and ends up having a tightly written script behind it. Highly recommended for couples who want to take playing around to the next level. Where did that come from? I know right? Well, you gotta see the film and you’ll totally get it!
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Photos courtesy of New Line Cinema