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Game Night

Game Night: For Real Though?

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  • Jason BatemanKyle Chandler...
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  • John Francis DaleyJonathan Goldstein
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Game Night: For Real Though?

It’s quite cool when a film is able to keep the audience suspensefully guessing whether or not the events unfolding before them belong to the realm of reality. While this kind of suspense typically helps keep films interesting, Game Night overused this technique.

Game Night tells the story of competitive married couple, Max (Nick Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), starting from how they met to the present. The couple hosts weekly game nights for their friends but, when Max’s annoyingly and majorly successful brother Brookes (Kyle Chandler) is in town, he insists on hosting a game night for the group. Brookes plans a staged murder mystery game, but the line between the reality and the staged is so blurred that neither the characters nor the audience know what is real and what isn’t.

The film’s first half is quite predictable and all too familiar, like a not so distant copy of other films. The film, for example, resembles movies like Date Night (2010): a couple planning out a fun night, end up getting involved in criminal activity. It also resembles movies like Rough Night (2017): a group of friends gathered to have fun, end up having to deal with a murder in a comical manner. 

Game Night’s second half is much more interesting that its first half. This is largely because the second half does a better job at walking the fine line between reality and joke, making for a compelling viewing experience. Moreover, the second half boasts much more lough out loud moments, than the first half: the events unfolding in the film’s second half allotted the characters -and respectively the actors playing them- the opportunity to show off their comic sides.

That being said, what truly made this film funny was the actors’ performances, not the overused plot line nor the fact that it walked the blurry line between reality and game/joke. The part of Max seemed to be written for Nick Bateman; his performance seemed effortlessly natural, making his usual wit seem funnier than ever. The character of Max is also constructed by the film’s script/plot to be quite likable; Max’s fear of routine, alongside his fear of becoming a parent, are elements that young adults find extremely relatable. As such, Bateman’s performance as Max was genuine, clever and, best of all, completely plausible. 

Rachel McAdams has also never been this funny; she is warm, natural, cool, and partially insane. There are several scenes in which Annie’s hilariously crazy side emerges, with her on the nose lines, hilarious expressions, and all sorts of quirky mannerisms aiding this emergence. Thus, McAdams truly out did herself as Annie. We also have to say that the actors’ great individual performances, were further complimented by their strong on-screen chemistry. 

The supporting cast members’ performances were plausible, but weak at times, with no stand outs, aside from Jesse Plemons who played Gary, the couple’s cop neighbor. Plemons’ voice, tone, and creepy unblinking dead eyes thrust him out of the supporting cast members’ mediocrity, and into the limelight with McAdams and Bateman.  

Overall, the film is funny but is it new? No. Is it innovative? Not really. Is it a pleasant experience? Yes. So if you are looking for a funny and familiar film, with hilarious characters, than this is your film.  

Like This? Try

Date Night (2010), Rough Night (2017), Spring Breakers (2012), Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999), Jawbreaker (1999)

360 Tip

Prior to filming, the cast members had their own "game night" so they could get to know one another.

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