This is very different from how my game nights turn out. I saw the trailer to this a while back and thought that it looked so silly that it just might work. The story to Game Night is Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are a married couple who share an interest in games and are equally as competitive – to an almost psychotic degree. When Bateman’s brother, who he loses to, invites them and their friends to a game night of his own, where actors will kidnap him and they must follow a trail of clues to find him, they decide to go for it. But, when he is actually kidnapped, everyone believes that they are still playing a game. Soon they are in over their heads, with crime bosses and gun men at every corner. But it’s just a game isn’t it?
A lot about this film reminded me of Horrible Bosses – and not just because Jason Bateman is in it. Both films are filmed in a similar style. They use the same colour scheme and camera work. They’re even similar in their uses of location. But, most importantly, they’re both very well structured and written films too. There’s some decent drama in here, and there are good thriller elements too. And every joke is set up and payed off. There’s no quippy jokes or random uses of comedy. Someone will say or do something earlier and then it’ll come back to bite them somehow. You know, how some great comedy’s supposed to work.
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams are great here. They share a lot of good chemistry. While it’s not going to be seen as a showcase of their best talents, they still bring a lot to the film. From the get go we know everything that we need to about the two of them and latch on almost instantly. The side characters and supporting cast do great too. I like Kyle Chandler as the brother – this jerk who keeps landing on his feet, having all the money, looks and cars. I liked their moronic friend who keeps trying to prove that he’s smarter than he looks. The couple with jealousy issues got a few laughs out of me too. I really liked the neighbour character. He takes social awkwardness to the next level, speaking in ways nobody speaks and always carrying his dog. Normally a character like this would take me out of it, but he’s used just right and just enough for it to work for me.
I really liked Game Night, but I didn’t love it. This is mostly because I thought that it was more good than it was funny. I chuckled throughout most of the film, but there were very few laughs from me. Moments like a pretty gruesome bullet removal were great when they played, but mostly I was just lightly chuckling when something got payed off. This was my issue with the likes of Horrible Bosses too. Also, depending on who you are the ending may completely loose you. There was a point earlier on when I thought it was going to end. It was a bridge scene. It would have been odd to end there, but it would also have worked great – almost like the film was trolling its audience. But it carries on and, while not bad, the ending we get is a more generic one. This is the point when a character played by Michael C Hall enters the film. I love Dexter, so it was great seeing him again in something else. But this man had little skill for comedy here, making it feel more intense than it probably should have been.
There’s not much else to say on Game Night. It’s certainly one of the stronger American comedy films of the past few years. It’s certainly worth a watch and will be a bit of fun for date night. It’s a harmless little comedy with some very funny moments and a lot of fun sprinkled throughout. It won’t beat the competition at the box office, but it’s all fun and games all the same.
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