One of the first true comedies of the year so far, “Game Night” contains sharp, snarky and dark humor that doesn’t go lowbrow or overly raunchy like most modern comedies. Sticking true to the title, this film keeps you wondering, right up to the very end, what is real and what is part of the game.
The film starts out with a quick montage to show the progression of Annie and Max’s romantic relationship, played by Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman respectively. While this development felt a bit too quick and glossed over, within the first 20 minutes or so, little details about each character are revealed, which make them each unique and easily distinguishable.
While the setup for the heart of the film felt a bit lengthy, it is clear to see the necessity of it all as the plot progresses. The filmmakers did a fantastic job of slipping in small details here and there that play a major part in the comedic timing in the end. They could have gone the comedic action-hero route with this film; however, they decided to stay true to the more humorous and amateur tone.
here were a couple of stereotypical characters, such as the charming and more successful older brother and the unintelligent but attractive blond male who winds up with an intelligent woman. Rather than detract from the humor by feeling too forced, these characters enhanced it. This has to do with the uniqueness of their personalities and their impeccable comedic timing.
The back and forth between Bateman and McAdams is what truly makes this film soar above its competitors, but they are not the only couple worth praising. Kevin and Michelle (played by Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) are given some of the funniest moments in the whole film, and Ryan (played by Billy Magnussen) portrays just the right amount of charming idiocy.
One of the most impressive things about “Game Night” is the surprising attention to cinematography. Most comedies don’t try to be too artistic, but that is what sets this one apart from the rest. Throughout the film, there are shots that make it appear as if the viewer is looking down at tiny pieces on a game board. Along with that, the fight sequences are well-shot and easy to follow.
While there were a few times when the action was paused in order to deal with the characters’ personal and emotional issues, these moments did not interrupt the co-medic flow of the film overall. In addition, the touching moments of sentimentality were limited and sprinkled throughout, leaving the viewer with just the right amount of warmth in their heart.
As a whole, “Game Night” is the least forced comedy the film industry has seen in recent years. With fresh and well-developed characters, a unique plot line, artistic camerawork and witty, dark humor, this film will go down in history as a refreshing break from the raunchy comedies that have dominated the last decade.