I had been looking forward to this film since I first saw the trailer. I found that trailer to be very funny, but I will say that I approached it with trepidation because I was fearful that we saw everything really funny in said trailer.
Thankfully, that was not the case and Game Night is an extremely funny film that I enjoyed from beginning to end. While not a perfect movie, Game Night was an enjoyable romp and a very funny movie, and humor will always help cover weaknesses.
Let’s look at what was great about this movie. First off, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play the lead couple, Max and Annie. Max and Annie were very competitive people who met, fell in love and got married. As a couple, they continued to host “game nights” with their friends. When Max’s jerk and much more successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to visit, things start being problematic. Brooks sets up his own game night, setting up a live-kidnapping mystery. Unfortunately for him, Brooks is in actual trouble with criminals and gets kidnapped for real. However, none of the game night crew realized that the real kidnapping wasn’t the fake one.
All of the cast is wonderful here. Kevin and Michelle (Lemorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) are a fun couple with a secret that comes out during a round of “Never Have I Ever.” Billy Magnussen was Ryan, a fairly dumb but lovable guy, who in order to prove that he did not just date the same type of blonde haired air heads, invited Sarah (Sharon Horgan) who was smart and witty and British– everything he usually did not go for. Jesse Plemons plays Gary, Max and Annie’s neighbor, who used to be included in their game night when he was married to their better friend Debbie, but now is ostracized since his divorce. Gary may be a police officer, but he is one weird person, fixated on game night. Jesse Plemons (from Breaking Bad) was just amazing as this over-the-top cop who loved Sebastian, the cat.
The other big time winning aspect of this film is the writing. The dialogue really pops in the film. It was quick and sharp and funny. I sat in the theater and marveled at how clever and entertaining the dialogue was, especially between Bateman and McAdams. They became an easy couple to root for.
There were also a bunch of movie allusions and quotes that really helped make this a treat for me. When Annie quoted Honey Bunny from Pulp Fiction, I nearly fell out of my seat. Then, later, Max not only referenced “Tony Stark” but also “Jarvis.” It was as funny because I am sure there were bunches of people who had no idea to what he was referring with that one.
Another winner here was the soundtrack, which featured some awesome songs that fit beautifully in the film. The music was very eclectic and the sound of Queen was just a great surprise.
The film was pretty dark at times, but it really was entertaining.
Now, where the film almost lost me was it really started to become zany with some of the story. I mean, there were some things that happened that were a REAL stretch of realism. Credibility was strained to its limits several times. However, just when I thought that the film was going to go too far and become too cartoonish, it pulled back and focused on the characters involved. And of course, it was funny. Most of the ridiculousness in this movie was really funny and that helped keep it from ruining the film.
Game Night had some lapses in logic, but a series of fun performances with extremely witty and clever banter that was simply funny, makes this film engaging and energetic.