Release Date: February 23, 2018
Cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons
Director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan M. Goldstein
Studio: Davis Entertainment, Aggregate Films, New Line Cinema
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Game Night Review Instructions
See the trailer. Think little of it. Go ahead and see it anyways as a goof with your board game buddies. It’s a comedy surely it will be ok.
- Sit in your seat. Have your concessions within easy reach.
- Enjoy to your delight
Time: 100 Minutes
Game Night is better than it has any right to be. I was so completely surprised by the quality throughout. Going in, I knew nothing about the movie. As I waited outside the theater I saw the poster, “From the Guys Who Brought You Horrible Bosses.” Oh good, I thought, the movie I turned off less than 20 minutes in. Ya see, with that one I could not get over the conceit, that these seemingly normal guys could jump to murder so quickly, and for the movie to expect me to then follow along with their journey thinking they were still the heroes, nah. So to say that I went into Game Night with less than great expectations would be an understatement.
I cannot be more happy to have been wrong! Game Night is fantastic! The conceit, that a game night featuring a murder mystery plot goes off the rails is fine and fun and watching the cast who are unaware of the mixup react is hysterical. They also, smartly, move on from that initial mix up and confusion early enough on in the movie for it to not wear thin.
The jokes land amazingly well. The audience was laughing with such enthusiasm that I am certain I missed a solid 15% of the dialogue. The joke lands with a smash, the movie keeps chugging along and by the time we have regained our breath, there’s another quip. Everyone experiences the shared joy of common truths. The friend who dates shallowly, the couple friends who have only ever had each other, the infuriating family member or friend who always one-ups you. These are people, relationships, and motivations that are real and then the movie goes off on its wild tear.
The movie earns everything it gets. There is no hail mary attempt at unearned heart or sentimentality, Game Night worked for those moments with consistent characters in Bateman and McAdams and their friends, building, learning, and growing over the course of the hectic night. Jesse Plemons’ character steals every scene he’s in, the neighborhood ‘pseudo friend’ who doesn’t get invited anymore because, well he seems to be a weirdo.
One distinct visual trick that I want to mention. There are a number of scene transitions or establishing shots that make the neighborhood or setting appear as if a miniature set and I’ll be damned if I didn’t enjoy that. It’s a little detail that plays with the overall theme of the movie.
The only complaint? People running a regular, competitive, Game Night would not be packing Scrabble and Charades. Those aren’t the board games of the Board Game Renaissance.
Game Night is a hilarious night out with close friends. What more could you want?