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Review: Game Night ain’t trite

You got the timer? Ready? And… go.

Okay, so this is a comedy about a murder mystery game night that turns into a real kidnapping mystery. No, not Clue, newer.

It stars Rachel McAdams in her first leading comedy role since Mean Girls with a super funny ensemble including Jason Bateman, Kyle Chandler, Lamorne Morris, and Jesse Plemons?

It doesn’t matter how I know this off the top of my head, keep guessing!

Flip, no, okay, so it’s fun, but it’s not too imposing, and will make a great family staple and — time? Really? Damn, alright, it was Game Night.

Game Night — the one that just came out. I’ve definitely told you about it before. But if you want my opinion again, then here’s the official review™.

Game Night tells the story of competitive married couple Annie (McAdams) and Max (Bateman), who, along with their energetic group of friends, take part in a murder mystery night that quickly turns into the real deal.

Split into three groups of two — all with varying knowledge of how much danger they’re in — the friends work with (and often against) each other to beat the clock and also the mafia or whomever.

The dark comedy is charmingly accessible: it indulges in familiar tropes (happily marrieds, the friend nobody likes, reckless gun usage) while keeping gags just fresh enough to avoid total cliche. And this isn’t the only balancing act the comedy pulls off.

Game Night also neatly navigates between physical comedy and that of the wittier variety, aided in large part by its cast. The ensemble sparks with an endearing chemistry (most notably between leads McAdams and Bateman), allowing scenes in which a gunmen do yoga to merge effortlessly with a dialogue-driven bullet removal.

Game Night is charmingly accessible, with a neat movement between physical comedy and clever witticisms

What helps the cast, too, is that the characters are all relatively likeable. Their (sometimes dumb) decisions mostly make sense, and none of the film’s drama revolves around frustrating will they/won’t they romantic tension.

But the cast also has massive help from directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, and editors Gregory Plotkin and Jamie Gross. Because Game Night isn’t just funny — it’s also pretty stylish. From inventive transitions to hilarious timing, the behind-the-scenes team’s skills shine through obviously and consistently in a way that’s rare in mainstream comedy.

And, look, the film isn’t perfect. It has around one billion endings, give or take, and it asks you to suspend an outrageous amount of disbelief. (I mean, a man gets sucked into a plane’s engine.) But Game Night is funny, exciting, and a plain-old good time.

And you should see it so that next time you don’t let down your 30 Seconds teammates so hard, Karen.

Anyway, whose turn is it?

Feature image courtesy of Time Media Films

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More

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