Director duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein made a name for themselves with the critically hated Vacation, a reboot of the classic Chevy Chase-starring films from a few decades ago. They return with Game Night, a comedy starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as Max and Annie, a couple who routinely meet with other friends for game nights. When Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, he promises the group a “game night to remember”. However, not everything goes according to plan and the group finds themselves wrapped up in a mystery where their own lives are at risk.
The trailers for Game Night didn’t really impress me. I appreciate comedy films just as much as the next person, but in this day and age, it’s easy to point out how some of them simply aren’t that funny. In 2017 alone, flicks such as Baywatch, The House, and Chips proved that no matter how talented and well-known your cast is, you can’t save a movie with a lazy script. That’s just common sense.
Surprisingly, this was not the case with Game Night. Not only did it come with dozens of good laughs, but it had a quite decent story at its core. A pretty unique one, in fact. Throw in the fact that its cast has genuine chemistry and the characters aren’t completely stupid and hopeless, and you have one of the best comedy films of the last few years.
I didn’t have many issues with Game Night. It isn’t a film that’s easy to pick apart and criticize, and that’s because of how enjoyable it is. The movie is, simply put, hard to hate. My main issue was that during the majority of the second act, the group is split up, and the scenes with the other couples weren’t as engaging as the scenes with Max and Annie. It’s just hard to enjoy a film revolving around a circle of people when they’re all split up. Once they regroup later on, though, the movie regains its pace.
While each member of the main cast has some outstanding moments, Max and Annie’s weird neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) truly steals the show. His true creepiness managed to captivate me every time he was onscreen. It’s ultimately the interactions with other members of the group that make him the best character of the movie, though. Just watch the film and see what I mean.
The musical score by Cliff Martinez, who composed for films such as Drive and The Neon Demon, yet again proves to add a pulse-pounding accompaniment to a film. The score for this movie is a very nice attribute and sounds amazing in the background. It certainly won’t win any awards, but the simplicity works in the long-run.
For those who are ultimately sick of the quality level that comedy films exhibit today, Game Night is a perfectly refreshing film in many ways. The cast is great, and the amount of chemistry between them contributes something not commonly seen in this day and age. During the second act, there are pacing issues thanks to the group being split up, but the writing, comedic value, and story are all evenly unique and better than most attempts nowadays.
Game Night stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall.