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Review: Game Night

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star in Warner Bros. Pictures' GAME NIGHT

When it comes to friends getting together for the purposes of entertainment, there are plenty of things people do to amuse themselves. Eventually, you find what works and you keep doing it. That’s fine and everything, but sometimes you may need to switch things up a little bit to add excitement. That’s part of the plot for Game Night. Here you have a group of people who have fun together, but they come to find out that sometimes change can appear to be good even when it is actually the exact opposite.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) host a weekly couples game night for their friends. These nights usually go pretty well, but things take a turn when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler) decides to stop by. While they still plan on playing games, he turns the gathering into a murder mystery party that includes fake thugs and faux federal agents. At the start, this looks like a smart idea, but the friends soon realize that this new game may not be a game at all.

I found that the comedy to be a little odd and unbelievable at first. This led me to believe that we were in for the typical adult orientated comedy that ran its course years ago. Needless to say, I was uninterested during this period of time since we were also stuck with some bland and amateurish jokes.

At this point, I was at least able to appreciate the tone that was being set. Although the movie was unable to make me laugh, the setting and the characters weren’t as bad. There’s a concept that could work and seems unique with people at the center of it that we are willing to follow. This made this portion of the movie at least serviceable in a sense that I could sit through the rest of the movie without being too dissatisfied.

While I settled in and became comfortable with the prospect of Game Night continuing down this path, things actually got better over time from a comedic perspective. This ran parallel with the story coming together and becoming more streamlined. As this occurs, everything became inherently more watchable. In fact, it started to separate itself from the usual adult comedy.

What we come to see is a film doesn’t rely on the vulgar and the disgusting to get reactions from the audience. There are moments where they use a bit of blood or dirty talk, but it’s not crazy or excessive, and it is rarely overdone. That’s something that more of these types of comedies should attempt to accomplish. Instead of using cheap jokes, focus on actually setting things up and leading us to an effective punchline.

As the year unfolds, there may be other flicks from this genre that will end up being better than what we get here. However, Game Night is a movie that will more than likely satisfy your desire for a comedy aimed at adults. That’s not completely what I expected, but I’m glad that they were able to deliver even if it has some flaws in terms of structure in the early going.\

Rating: R

John Francis Daley
Jonathan Goldstein

Jason Bateman
Rachel McAdams
Billy Magnussen
Sharon Horgan
Lamorne Morris,
Kylie Bunbury
Jesse Plemons
Danny Huston
Chelsea Peretti
Michael C. Hall
Kyle Chandler

Film Length: 93 minutes

Release Date: February 23, 2018

Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures

  • Score - 7/10
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