Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Game Night

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Game Night?  More like Lame Night, amirite?  No, I'm not because this was a good movie. 

Game Night – 4 out of 5

I like games—not relationship ones, those suck—but fun ones; for example, card, board and video games are all great.  As a busy adult with social anxiety, I don’t partake in many Game Nights with friends but they’ve been known to happen from time to time.  Game Night offers the fun and socializing of one of these nights and packs it with a nice dark comedy backdrop.  

It's pretty neat how some exteriors were filmed to look like game boards.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are two very competitive people who constantly host a game night for their friends.  When Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) decides to visit, he offers to host his own game night that will involves an interactive role-playing game involving a murder mystery.  However, when Max and Annie arrive with their friends; married couple Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and the dimwitted Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his date Sarah (Sharon Horgan), they soon learn that the line between the game and a real-life kidnapping that occurs start to blur as it is revealed that Brooks has some secrets and owes some powerful men a lot of money.

In fairness, I would have just sat and watched him get kidnapped too.
It would be hard to pull my tubby butt away from the snack table.

The trailer made Game Night look a lot of fun but trailers can be deceiving.  However, the end product to the film really lived up to my expectations the trailer gave me and the movie proved to be a really entertaining example of a dark comedy…and also showed me that being caught up in that situation would be kinda cool.

Michael C. Hall has a small role in the film.  He's a talented guy.  Why don't
I see him in tons more things?

A couple things really made Game Night click for me and really made it a fun experience.  The first thing that really made it function is the premise and how the story and plot utilize it.  The idea is simple and plays off the concept of planned situations going wrong in the right ways.  In this case, the friends are expecting a crime caper type of role-playing game to occur and they are subjected to a real-life crime.  The whole thing still feels phony to them and things only get muddier as the truth is revealed but other moments come into play that even make these reveals questionable.  It results in all the right moments to create comedy but it also made the film interesting to watch because there is a mystery unfolding and I found myself very easily getting invested and wanting to see where the whole thing goes.

These two carry the story amazingly well.

The next element that made Game Night function is the very comedy itself.  The premise is great but the gags and jokes are all little moments that exist to punctuate scenes and never act like they are there to define the scene.  Each scene feels like the jokes are supplied to be fun and not overwhelm a moment.  This ended up making the film miss having the problem a lot of comedies suffer from and that is the overwhelming sense of trying too hard.  By filling the running length with a lot of little solid moments and abandoning the desire to just “throw spaghetti at the wall” and see what sticks, you’re left with a comedy that keeps the laughs coming and never have the breaks slammed on them due to a bunch of dud throwaway lines and gags getting in the way.  All these little moments piled up and built on each other nicely and kept me chuckling and laughing the entire time.

One movie-stealing element of the comedy came from the character played
by Jesse Plemons.  Every scene with him is hysterical!

The final aspect that made Game Night work so well is the cast.  Not only are the performers great but they all had terrific chemistry.  For example, Jason Batman and Rachel McAdams play incredibly well off each other and really made their dynamic of a married couple obsessed with competition a lot of fun.  I also enjoyed their relationship with Kyle Chandler.  Bateman and Chandler do a great job of being antagonistic towards each other and pull off the sibling rival aspect very well.

They made a huge mistake.

Game Night has a lot going for it and proved to be a lot of fun for me.  The story never drags, the comedy never gets tedious and there is the potential for a lot of replay value thanks to some very memorable moments and solid gags.  It rides that line of a being a fantastic dark comedy as it balances the darker sides of it with the comedy exceptionally well.  I thought I was going to have fun with this one and I ended up enjoying more than I anticipated.

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