“Game Night” stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, and Jeffrey Wright. Released on February 23, 2018, the film is about a group of friends whose game night unexpectedly turns into an actual murder mystery.
The film is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who wrote screenplays for films such as The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, Horrible Bosses, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. They are also known for writing and directing “Vacation” back in 2015. The comedy writing duo are back in their directing seats for this R-rated laugh-fest that takes game night to the next level. While some of their comedies were far from perfect (including their directorial debut), Goldstein and Daley have done wonders in delivering some constant laughs and some entertainment values in their simple, yet amusing, plots. Well, except for Horrible Bosses 2. That one was an unfortunate misfire. I was amused by the film’s premise when I first saw the trailers. I mean, a bunch of people who thought an actual murder mystery is a game? Who doesn’t want to pay money to see that? More importantly, who does? Well, clearly almost everybody in terms of its box office results on opening weekend and, from my personal perspective, it definitely deserved such a crowd.
The story has a basic premise that mixes in the dark humor with its twisted murder mystery genre. Even though the film itself is R-rated, it didn’t stray itself too far from its strict line between comedy and storytelling. It took itself some time for the audience to get to know the main characters before the insanity comes barging in through the door and takes them on an amusing joy ride. There’s no joke that’s either overly offensive or just plain raunchy compared to the other adult comedies. Every comedic scene that’s in the film is filled with character-driven moments and some awkward moments that hit the mark just right for me. While the story has a few stale parts that kept it from being a memorable game night, the entire journey is nothing but pure entertainment that doesn’t stop until the end credits started rolling. The entire cast did a really solid job with their portrayals, with Bateman and McAdams delivering some great chemistry together as Max and Annie, respectively. If you like Bateman in his other films, then you won’t be disappointed with him in this. This guy really knows how to provide some laughs without going over-the-top. The film is also very well-shot in terms of the action sequences, including some over-the-head shots for the car chases and that one sequence where it is just one continuous take. I actually never would’ve thought that I would be this impressed with the cinematography in a comedy, let alone a mainstream R-rated comedy.
Overall, “Game Night” may not win “Best Comedy of the Year”, but if you’re looking for a fun night at the movies, this one will definitely tide you over. Due to its undeniable cast, its hilarious R-rated humor, and some well-shot sequences, this film marks a nice improvement over Goldstein and Daley’s last directorial effort. I really had a great time watching this film as it reminded me why I love going to the movies: to have fun viewing it whether it is good or not. I wouldn’t mind watching it again either at the theater or at home as it is, in my opinion, one of my biggest surprises of 2018 so far.