Friday, March 2, 2018

[Review] Game Night

Coming from the directing duo of John Francis Daley and and Jonathan Goldstein, Game Night is an insanely rowdy romp that rolls in as one of the funniest and most expectation-defying films of the early year.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple that have one huge trait in common: They're obsessive game enthusiasts -- from bar trivia to charades to Monopoly -- so much so that they hold a weekly game night with their friends. Their routine is thrown out of whack when Bateman's envied older brother (played by Kyle Chandler) comes into town to host his own game night. Always one to upstage his younger brother, he sets up an elaborate Murder Mystery party, but the proceedings are so real that the crew cannot decipher what's part of the game and what isn't. And well, things get beyond CRAZY.

Much of the film's success is owed to Mark Perez's extremely entertaining and consistently hilarious screenplay. Between the story's sheer unpredictability and piles of twists, as well as the onslaught of gut-busting jokes, Game Night thrives simultaneously as both a grippingly wild thriller and an absolutely uproarious comedy. I was dropping my jaw and belly-laughing in my seat the whole way through. There's a particularly hysterical scene where McAdams attempts to remove a bullet from Bateman's arm, and pretty much everything that can go wrong - does. In addition, the commendably clever dialogue is full of referential humor and quippy exchanges that are stacked like a Jenga tower.

The great supporting cast is fully game too, including Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Kylie Bunbury, and Lamorne Morris. In an unexpected turn, it's Billy Magnussen that is the frequent scene-stealer, as he plays a bonehead doof of a character who delivers some of the film's best lines with astonishing comic timing. But the star of the show truly is Jesse Plemons, who taps in as Bateman and McAdam's painfully awkward and sensitive neighbor (he doesn't like being left out of game night). The guy seriously deserves Oscar consideration for this role, and I'm not even kidding.

As all the cards are flipped, the mysteries are revealed, and blood is spilled, Game Night remains engaging and surprising until the very end. And I mean the very end. Over.

( 8/10 )

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