This was a tough review to write and I don’t know why.
I loved “Game Night” — that shouldn’t be too hard to say. However, stretching that statement into an actual article is surprisingly difficult. To paraphrase a famous “Lord of the Rings” quote: “It’s like spreading butter over too much bread.” So, hopefully I can eloquently describe why this is an excellent comedy while at the same time, providing a length that can be considered appropriate.
After meeting while playing bar trivia, Max (Jason Bateman, “Zootopia”) and Annie (Rachel McAdams, “Doctor Strange”) build a charming relationship on their mutual love for board games and a weekly game night with friends. But when Max’s wealthy and more successful brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler, “Manchester by the Sea”), arrives in town to join their festivities, the evening quickly goes off the rails as the group find themselves dealing with real kidnappers, the mafia, and plenty of violence.
Here’s the thing: “Game Night” is far better than it has any right to be. I couldn’t stop laughing. It’s consistently funny throughout the entire runtime.
The plot and set up is clever, the characters are fun and mildly relatable and the jokers are as vulgar as they are hilarious. It’s a neat little package of hilarity from beginning to end.
When it comes to comedies that center around a couple, especially when they’re married, there tends to be an annoying tension between the two. While there are moments when Max and Annie bicker, their relationship is refreshingly healthy. The two play off each other well and there is a surprising sense of love and admiration that they may genuinely feel. They’re cute when they’re together and fun to watch.
There’s one actor who really makes the film as excellent and enjoyable as it is.
Jesse Plemons (“Black Mirror”) plays the awkward and mildly threatening next door neighbor, Gary, who hasn’t been invited to game night for many years. The comedy he brings to the table is the highlight of movie and he had me laughing louder than any other character could. I’ve really enjoyed watching Plemons’ career and this is, by far, my favorite role he’s played.
What’s most impressive about “Game Night” is the impact it left on me. The more I think about the film, the fewer problems I can remember.
Sure, sometimes the jokes can go on a bit too long, quickly losing steam, and when the movie gets serious, the cracks in the writing begin to show. There are even a few times when the screenplay goes off the rails into a fiery wreck and that’s when the dialogue is drenched in exposition. Listening to people conveniently rattle off impertinent facts about their lives is droll, even when it’s funny.
“Game Night” is excellent. I loved watching the movie and while writing about it was difficult, I would hope that my inadequacies as a writer doesn’t deter you from watching the film. It really is worth the price of admission.