Like Horror, Suspense Thriller movies are usually a hit with adults and even young ones who are in for some kind of puzzling and riveting mysteries. This penchant surely originates from the human tendency to challenge one’s sense of comprehension.
For this issue’s contributor’s column, we are featuring again Caillou Pettis; this time with his review of the Mystery/Crime movie Game Night, which is currently showing at selected theaters in the city.
*Caillou Pettis is a Calgary-born film critic, actor, director, and writer. He reviews films, old and new.
Game Night (A Film Review)
An extremely clever script mixed with brilliant comedic performances from both Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams makes Game Night an entertaining treat.
A couple named Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) enjoy getting together with their group of friends on weekends for a fun and entertaining game night that often includes charades and various board games. Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up one weekend to play game night with the group. After an entertaining night, Brooks invites Max and Annie to a game night that will be hosted at his house, to which the two agree to do so. However, when the day eventually arrives, and the couple go to Brooks’ house, absolute chaos mixed with comedic mishaps occur throughout the night.
This film is directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, the reason before I went to see it, I was extremely nervous. The two previously directed the 2015 remake of Vacation, which was disastrous. Virtually nothing about that ninety-nine minute, unfunny film worked. Fortunately, Game Night was far from that. It was wonderfully directed, armed with a surprisingly witty script by Mark Perez.
Bateman brings his all in Game Night, proving himself to be one of the funniest actors working today. Practically every time he was onscreen, laughter was sure to ensue; and his character has a certain likeability that will have you rooting for him all the way through. The best aspect of Game Night, however, is McAdams as Annie. She is not a film character that is completely oblivious to the things occurring around her for most of the entire motion picture. When things quickly take a turn for the worse in the film’s opening thirty minutes, people are unaware to things unfolding in front of their eyes, but that quickly changes. McAdams is also a scene-stealer, as her dialogue had me laughing consistently throughout this mystery comedy. Additionally, her character is not reliant on a man to save her in every scene, and this is something extremely praiseworthy. Some of the most hilarious and entertaining scenes in the film occur with her fighting some of the film’s antagonists.
Tone is a big issue with Tone is a big issue with Game Night unfortunately. We can literally watch a scene in which an individual has just gotten kidnapped and some even killed, and then the next scene we see two characters discussing if they want to have a baby or not. Going from one very brutal and dark scene to instant comedy can be a bit jarring from time to time. Viewers will more than likely get used to it after a while much like I did, but it took a little bit of time.
Game Night also suffers occasionally from a rushed script. Many scenes feel like scenes set up for the next big scene which will be bolder and funnier, but it would have been nice to ease off the brakes for a bit to let the script breathe. It would not have been a bother to me if the film was a tad longer, as the characters are indeed likeable and it is loaded with comedy throughout to keep audiences laughing and entertained. A longer running time would have not gotten on most viewers’ nerves due to these factors. The film also looks marvelous; thanks to the great cinematography by Barry Peterson.
If you have a big group of friends, then you might want to go all together to see Game Night. At its core, the film itself is about friendship, family, and teamwork, so it would be great to see it with friends.
Extraordinarily clever and funny, Game Night stands out significantly amongst the crowd of rather dull comedy films released in recent years. To reiterate, the great performances of Bateman and Adams make the film an amazingly engaging watch.
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