Game Night movie review: A rare comedy that's genuinely well made, with repeat value
Game Night is a dark comedy that somehow works throughout its entire zippy runtime, with a cast that is having a total blast, and more importantly delivers unfamiliar, uncomfortable laughs despite being a very mainstream product.
The big question that pops up while watching Game Night is simply: why isn’t this film getting more coverage? This is a dark comedy that somehow works throughout its entire zippy runtime, with a cast that is having a total blast, and more importantly delivers unfamiliar, uncomfortable laughs despite being a very mainstream product.
Game Night is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the duo who wrote Spiderman Homecoming and they inject two keywords in this film — ludicrous and nutty. Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman play Annie and Max, an oddly competitive couple that likes to get together with a bunch of friends and play very oddly competitive games. Things take a turn with Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up and decides to host a kidnapping role playing game in his fancy house, the prize to which are the keys to his even fancier car. Naturally everyone is excited to jump in but the game begins things quickly go hilariously wrong.
Daley and Goldstein hold nothing back as they render generous amounts of shock value with pitch black humor as the characters find themselves in increasingly stupid situations with even sillier payoffs. Cleverly, they also administer an undercurrent of mystery throughout the narrative so the goofy sight gags become perfect companion pieces as the characters struggle to figure their way through the maze of idiocy. The progressively improbable scenarios that lather up against the characters are only matched by the moronic and ill-fated decisions that they make, leading to a perfectly absurd clusterfudge of a final act.
Even when the jokes are plain dumb the moments are so smartly crafted and timed you’ll struggle to hold back the chuckles. Imagine a David Fincher movie where the central characters are straight out of Dumb and Dumber – that is the visual style that Game Night brings and it somehow just works.
It is not clear how true the final film is to the script but everyone in the film seems like they were allowed to go unhinged. Bateman always plays the same bitter wisecracking character in most comedies but he’s refreshingly goofy here. McAdams is fun but Chandler is a surprisingly hilarious standout; and it seems like his was a bit of stunt casting considering his demeanor has no comedic chops but is placed in situations that are too idiotic for even him to be taken seriously. Jesse Plemons makes a side splitting cameo as a creepy neighborhood guy who is never invited to the game nights. Billy Magnussen from the terrific Ingrid Goes West makes another strong impression as a comedy star to watch out for.
This dark comedy mystery isn’t as polished as something like a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, but it’s nice to see this kind of an irreverent film in an era where comedy movies compromise on intellect or craft. This is a rare comedy that doesn’t require you to wade through the muck to find one or two laughs — it’s a genuinely well made film with repeat value, so head to the theaters now.
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