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Game Night (dir. Daley. Goldstein.)

Image: Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a competitive couple, bring their favourite board games to Kyle Chandler’s game night. © Photograph by Hopper Stone/SMPSP. Property of Warner Bros. Inc. [Source: IMDB]

★★★☆☆

It’s a film, two words, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as a competitive couple who adore their board games and playing with their friends. Jason Bateman’s Max’s overly successful and belittling brother comes to town and organises a kidnapping mystery game that seems oddly convincing. The first word sounds like name, second word opposite of daytime…it’s Game Night.

Director: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein. Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Michael C. Hall, Danny Huston [15]

Thankfully Game Night plays out much as to how you’d expect, a darkly comedic twist on suburban life being sent astray by unforeseen circumstances and it’s mostly a riot with plenty of laugh out loud moments and the joy from seeing the misfortune of others, hail Schadenfreude! While, watching Jason Bateman bite down on a dogs chew toy to alleviate pain is hilarious, towards the end of the film I could not help but feel the film could have certainly pushed the darkness of the comedy further. It certainly feels like it was directed by two different people, there’s a tonal imbalance between the comedy and the sentimentality of rom-com style character development, while these moments are sweet and executed well they offset the far more interesting movie this partly is.

The performances from our leads thankfully tie these two different movies together and hold up what they can of this film, their comedic timing and chemistry is entrancing as well as amusing. Buying into them as people and as a couple does help the side plot narratives of yesteryear romantic comedies but sadly is still a substantial distraction that does not produce the empathy or interest desired. Game Night‘s biggest downfall, however, is a loss of ideas, about halfway into the film they have spent their premise, failing to take the comedy further, the film turns into an amalgamation of standard rom-com and subdued suburban action flick. Then its a series of twists they hope to either shock the audience or get a forced laugh as the pacing and plot get dragged to the climax of the film where there is hardly a laugh left.

Game Night runs out of steam far quicker than it should have and tries to balance two different tones of film, leaving the far more interesting of the two left by the sidelines underdeveloped and leaving the audience clamouring for more. Despite this, Game Night is a riot of laughs and a good time guaranteed, it just sadly does keep the laughs going for long, perhaps in that respect, it’s much how a game of Monopoly turns from excitement to disappointment.

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