Game Night – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!


Game Night – 3.5/5 –Going to the theaters, I usually leave my expectation at the door and take a film on its merits.   When it is a comedy, it is a genre that will either hit or miss at certain extremes.  Striking laughter is something that is innate to one style.  Game Night is a great mixture of comedic styles and unexpected moments that will have you laughing through the journey.  Even with some obvious slapstick clichés and suspension of disbelief, Game Night is an entertaining comedic film.

Premise:

Game Night is built around an ensemble cast with leads.  In the lead roles, you have:

Jason Bateman as Max

Rachel McAdams as Annie

These two do a great job in creating distinct characters with oddities.  Playing a married couple, Bateman and McAdams make a wonderful team.  You believe they are truly married, seeing authenticity in their interactions.  From the oozing chemistry to their amusing dialogue, is visual obvious in a fresh embracement.  By having strong leads as Max and Annie, they do a great job in creating a focal point on screen.  It is strong, purposeful but comical on a personal note.  It is a raw complexion of ‘straight face’ dialogue with unrelenting physical humor.  This, combined with authentic characters adds to the convincing feelings between the couple.  With the rest of the ensemble, you can refer to the film’s IMDb page.  The rest of the cast are wonderfully distinct, individualistic but odd in nature.  They do a great job in complimenting the dry/physical humor of the film.  Each of them get their moment of shine, helping push past the standard one-dimensional archetypes they are built upon.

The direction follows most comedies of this type.  Beginning with built off ideas by positioning a group characters together, you watch as they are linked in scenarios and obvious humor to create a ‘pathway’ for a unique experience.  The basic concept is to place this group in an ‘awkward situation’ where they must find a way to ‘solve’ the mystery of the plot.  In the first act, we are introduced to how Annie and Max meet, which leads them to creating ‘game nights’ with their friends.  On one specific night, the game has an added mystery element that goes completely wrong.  From this point, the characters must figure out the mystery before it is too late.  We watch as the ensemble is ‘broken up’, moving on a linear path with a common ‘connect the dots’ scenario.  On top of the basic setup, the film has layers of odd interactions, mishap situations and unpredictable one-liners.  What makes this story standout Is the physical and dry humor being combined within a realistic approach.  That approach puts the audience ‘in their shoes’, allowing an experience to be honest, raw and laughable to its core.  The conscious effort to have ‘real’ characters in outrageous situations allows for the snappy dialogue and ‘realistic’ references to be downright hilarious.  You get to go on this journey of how married couples deal with mobsters, black market exchanges and contract killers.  Once in the second act, that darkly subplot begins to blend alongside the humor.  The unpredictability of the mystery builds, creating high risk situations that turn the basic setup into a thrilling dark comedy.  The contrasting effect of ‘shock and awe’ with ‘goofy’ creates a believable sense in the outrageousness of the plot.  The ‘over-the-top’ scenarios push forward some thrilling moments that are complimented by character driven exposition and social references.  It is fun, exciting but always stays true to the mystery of the game.  Once you get to the third act, the film keeps up with the wit and humor, but begins to twist in some unwanted backstories that push the ‘extremes’ over the edge.  It gets to a point where you will accept everything to be true or not.  Even with some additional slapstick humor, the main characters help keep the story steady.  With this, you are lead into a climax that is awkward but hilarious.  Once in the epilogue, you are left with an ending that brings everything together, living the moments of an entertaining experience.

The visuals are grounded in the aspect of suburbia and film magic.  Taking place in Los Angeles, you are given a simplistic appeal of how characters interact indifferently with real situations.  With no strong visual aesthetics, it is basic to the naked eye.  The score is common to comedy films.  There is nothing here that helps or hinders the experience.

Game Night is a comedy that strikes that chord of being laugh out loud funny, most of the time.  With a great cast and an awkward setup, you are left with a unique comedic ride.  If you’re a fan of comedies, the actors/actress involved or just want to laugh, this is one for you.  It is worth going to the theaters, especially with a group of friends to laugh with.

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