The Phoenix

Game Night is surprisingly hilarious

Game nights are a good time for family and friends to get together and have fun. My family game nights usually include fights and tears. For these characters, their game night includes kidnappings and car chases.

Game Night is the newest mainstream comedy to hit theaters, starring Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls) as Max and Annie respectively, a competitive married couple who has a weekly game night with their friends. When Max’s hotshot brothers (Kyle Chandler) decide to host pseudo-murder mystery, not everything goes according to plan.

Game Night took me by surprise. Enjoyable characters, wonderfully funny jokes, and a twisting narrative will leave audiences guessing throughout the runtime.

The premise is interesting and the filmmakers make the most of it. With a narrative is full of surprises that keeps the audience on their toes. The film has great setups and payoffs and each character has their own distinct arc.

Game Night boasts a cohesive ensemble cast. Bateman and McAdams have great chemistry and bounce off each other very well. Their comedic timing is absolutely perfect here. The rest of the cast comes to play as well, with my favorite supporting character being Gary, the unusual cop that lives next door to Max and Annie. Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad) is fantastic in the role. His monotone delivery combined with his observant, almost stalker-ish nature make him offputting, but hilarious.

Another aspect of Game Night that surprised me was the action. Game Night’s car chases and gunfights were shot and edited like an action film. A particular stand out was a chase sequence that was edited to appear as one fluid take. The action led to lots of effective physical humor.

Game Night is a great comedy. Most modern comedies feel cliche and by the numbers, but Game Night feels like a movie that was made by passionate people who wanted to see their vision on the screen. In a similar vein to the 21 Jump Street reboots, Game Night has genuine laughs, great action, and is undoubtedly worth the price of admission.

8/10

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