A Seemingly Innocent Murder-Mystery Game Goes Awry in 'Game Night'

Lawrence Kim
February 23, 2018

Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, working off a script by Mark Perez, do what's expected and then some in a movie where a routine game night escalates from Tostitos Scoops and charades to ducking bullets and foiling kidnappers.

BATEMAN: "I'm not good about that". What sells it is that she, too, goes head-over-heels gaga for this middle-aged, middle-class, middle American because he remembers that the purple Teletubby was Tinky-Winky.

More credit where it's due should go to the well-cast supporting players, especially Jesse Plemons as the funny-creepy policeman who is Max and Annie's next-door neighbor.

The film opens with a montage showing us the courtship of Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), starting with their meet-cute at a bar trivia night where they are clearly the two most competitive people in the room.

"The biggest compliment we got from the early screenings of the film was people saying, 'I've never seen anything like this, ' in a good way", he says. According to a doctor, Max might be "underperforming" in the bedroom because of his preoccupation with his older, hipper and wealthier brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler). They get married and try to start a family but can not.

She shares a scene with Bateman that is a flawless example.

Chris Van Vliet: "Since the movie is called 'Game Night, ' I want to call these interviews 'Game Day, ' and we're going to cue some cheesy game show music right there". Goldstein is magnanimous enough to admit that Perez's work was one of the key draws of the film. Plemons (of TV's "Breaking Bad" and "Fargo") makes him sadly lonely following his emotionally scarring divorce and, at the same time, intolerably unpleasant. "It was so much fun, there was so much potential for genre mash-up which is what we were intending to do, where it's both comedy and thriller", says Daley.

Bateman was impressed with the two of them throughout the filming of their sophomore effort.

The heroic doofus character doesn't entirely own our rooting interest, but Bateman keeps him in the high 90th percentile.

Kyle Chandler is good as the older brother who may not be as flawless as he seems, and it's pretty clear now that the older Chandler gets, the more character that face of his is going to take on.

Chris Van Vliet: "So are you the most competitive father or husband?" It is like a screwball comedy, adapted to the 21st Century, where the scenes are surprisingly extended, music and editing added only with the slightest of touches, yielding instead to shockingly violent moments peppered in between physical and/or chase scenes amidst the jokes.

Game Night is one of those rare comedies that hits on all cylinders for the entire run time, and by the end of the film, you have not only laughed, but you've also taken a journey with the characters on screen. And Jeffrey Wright made me laugh very hard in his brief time onscreen, a reminder that he's not a guy comedy filmmakers lean on almost enough. Watching Game Night, one gets the impression that Daley and Goldstein could be well suited to directing a dance-heavy musical-their set pieces have a loving, playful sureness of movement.

It's an idea that seems so obvious you wonder why no one has ever done it before - a riff on David Fincher's cult classic The Game, but y'know, with intentional laughs.

"Game Night" is like playing Monopoly where the only properties are the four railroads.

Going by Miller's scene-stealing comedic turn as The Flash in last year's ensemble adventure Justice League, the standalone Flash film will feature yet another wisecracking superhero - a trend that began with Marvel's 2008 Iron Man film and continues with recent box-office smashes such as last year's Thor: Ragnarok and the Guardians Of The Galaxy franchise (2014 to 2017), also from Marvel.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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