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Review: Game Night

  • Directors: Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley
  • Staring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Kylie Bunbury, Lamorne Morris, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan and Jesse Plemons

Dare I say it, Game Night is a comedy that actually made me laugh out loud (quite unusual for a modern American comedy). Directing duos John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who brought you Horrible Bosses and have recently been confirmed for Flashpoint, have created 100 minutes of giggles and thrills.

Written by Mark Perez, Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as Max and Annie, who fell in love through their competitive nature. The couple are the hosts of weekly game night for their friends but it’s when Max’s rich and seemingly successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town, that game night really begins. He pledges that he can make game night a night to remember “without the boards or the pieces” by conducting a murder mystery party.

Trusting Brooks’ abduction to be staged, the group disperse in pairs and begin to solve the ‘case’ but soon discover the game is in fact a reality. The twist is that that no one really knows what’s going on, not even you. Pictionary and Charades aside, it’s time to dodge some bullets (and yes, the action is believable).

The film solely relies on the relationship of the actors. The group of pals are certainly memorable and give Friends a run for their money. They’re able to bounce off one another with strong humour and wit that doesn’t even get annoying. The characters take the story seriously when they need to, making the audience care about them.

Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and Kevin (Lamorne Morris) are childhood sweethearts, and Ryan (Billy Magnussen) the good-natured airhead is accompanied by his pick of the week Sarah (Sharon Horgan), an intelligent Irish catch.

It’s Gary (Jesse Plemons) who is the stand out star of the film with his hilariously dead pan nature. Stealing most scenes, he’s the creepy cop neighbour, obsessed with his dog and dreaming to be invited to game night, after struggling to come to terms with his divorce.

Game Night features several cameos and references to Taken, Pulp Fiction and The Green Mile. But from sibling rivalry to the struggles of conceiving, the film is a bundle of relatable family content.

Following the likes of Date Night and Keeping Up with the Joneses, this comedy thriller is clever. It juxtaposes real life circumstances with silly situations. Whether it’s a dazzling egg chase or ‘DIY’ removing a bullet from your husband, nobody realises just how close they are to being killed.

Although it’s primarily a comedy, the sharp screenplay is filmed as a thriller, with reference to David Fincher’s low lighting and intense camera angles. The two narratives play off each other and that’s why it works so well.

I liked it, you will like it and it’s definitely the current underdog of the film industry. 

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