Game Night – Movie Review

“Game Night” stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a couple who partake in their usual weekly game night with their friends, but one particular game night involving Kyle Chandler ends up being a murder mystery game. But as it would turn out, the so-called “game” could very well end up being a real case of kidnapping and murder and now these couples have to solve this supposed murder mystery and survive the night as well.

I wasn’t looking forward to seeing this movie at all. The trailers didn’t impress me and I thought it would just end up being another one of those comedies where there’s no script and it’s reliant on the actors just acting stupid in front of the camera while they do a bunch of ad-libs. And in all honesty, the overwhelmingly positive reviews didn’t change my mind at all. I still looked at this movie’s marketing and I just didn’t care to see it. But fortunately for me, I ended up having to see this movie with family and I got to experience just how wrong I was about “Game Night”.

My worries about this being one of those forced ad-lib comedies were unfounded. This movie has a tight comedic script that the actors stick to and they’re clearly having a good time. What improvisation that exists merely lies in quick throwaway lines from the actors and they aren’t overdone. The best part is that they’re actually funny, thanks in part to great comedic delivery from all of the actors. I guess this is what happens when you actually have, you know, a script.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams both deliver very funny and entertaining performances, but two actors in particular stand out in my mind’s eye. The first is Kyle Chandler who plays Bateman’s brother. He’s a very slimy and condescending character, but damn if he still doesn’t come off as incredibly charismatic and charming, showing yet another reason why I think Chandler himself is a very underrated actor. The other performance that stole the show was that of Jesse Plemons as a very creepy, questionable cop who you simply don’t want to be left alone with. Plemons is basically channeling a more comedic version of Todd from “Breaking Bad” and it works perfectly for this type of movie.

Where the humor lies is not only in the situations that these character are put through, but the stuff that occurs in said situations. There’s a lot of dark comedy involving your usual murder and extortion and it had me laughing quite a bit. And yes, I mean laughing out loud. Though to be perfectly honest, some of the situations I found to be a bit too over-the-top and even convoluted. The actual murder mystery starts to get a little muddled at a point, specifically in the third act. Granted, the movie still delivers laughs, but it doesn’t quite strike a balance between a funny comedy and an action/crime thriller.

My other negative towards this movie would be that I didn’t care too much for the other couples that tag along on this journey. They still get some chuckles here and there, but I would’ve been just fine had it been solely Bateman and McAdams on the adventure. One of the husbands in particular is portrayed as a very dumb and clueless character and I just don’t like characters who are unrealistically dumb, even if it’s in an over-the-top comedy. That’s just a personal preference of mine when it comes to comedies and the way it’s handled in this movie didn’t change my stance on that.

In the end, “Game Night” was a pleasant surprise. The comedic performances are solid, it’s genuinely funny, and it only escalates further and further into a series of over-the-top, albeit ridiculously unrealistic scenarios. Still, I had a fun time watching this movie and I think that this movie will satisfy anyone who just wants to watch something that’ll make you laugh and entertain you for 100 minutes.

Rating: Matinee

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