Finally a movie that isn’t a sequel, prequel, reboot or based on a comic book series. It’s original, it’s fresh. Thank god. You know, there haven’t been many straight-up comedies lately, which is a shame. It’s always been other types of movies that have funny in them – horror movies with funny moments or kids movies that were also funny or Marvel movies. And Game Night is very very funny, I even started laughing in the trailer. So I was a little worried that they just used all the best jokes in the trailer but that’s not the case. It’s funny throughout.
A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves trying to solve a murder mystery.
There was something wonderful about this movie – it was absolutely relatable. The plot question: “How can I fix my relationship with my brother?” just resonates much better than, say, to pick a plot at random: “How can best use my superpowers to protect my technologically advanced secret country?” Sure I haven’t tried taking a plane out with a sports car or fired a handgun or anything like that, but the ordinary relationships, the human story that was the beating heart of Game Night is full of moments we’ve all been through – sibling rivalry, competitive friends, horrifically awkward people we can’t avoid, friends whose tastes and habits are obvious to everyone but them, etc. It’s all out of real life.
There was no fan service so Game Night is going to have to stand on its own merits (and they had Billy Magnussen, they could have at least tried). But this was well acted. I love Jason Bateman, ever since Arrested Development. Something about his delivery cracks me up, that passive-aggressive calling-people-out-while-still-going-along-with-it thing he does gets me every time. Kyle Chandler was absolutely ideal as the smarmy older brother semi-douche. Jesse Plemons was also amazing, he was funny by not being funny, which is tricky to pull off. The chemistry between all these characters was convincing too, especially between Bateman and Rachel McAdams; they felt like a real married couple.
I’m a big fan of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who both gave us Vacation. So the writing was good – we knew what all the characters wanted and why, the dialogue was absolutely believable and the pacing was perfect. AND, at 1 hour 40 minutes, Game Night is exactly ideal length. There were some magnificent callbacks, the comedy equivalent of Chekhov’s Gun, where a joke was set up in the first act and then paid off in the second. Not all of the jokes had me rolling in the aisle, but not all of them had to. The jokes kept coming. And you know where there’s that moment in every comedy where it goes just a little too far and turns awful? (Pastry Scene in Van Wilder, hot tub scene in Vacation, etc) Well, Game Night didn’t have that.
So is Game Night worth watching? Absolutely. Go see it and you can bring a date. I got the feeling that it was very much made with couples in mind and it’s got a romantic side. I’m not sure if I need to see it again but it was very entertaining while I was there. You’ll have those moments where the characters will remind you of people you know.
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