Review | Game Night (2018)
- Directed by: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
- With: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler
In the end, Game Night conquered me for its simplicity and irreverence, for the way the characters were developed and for its fast pace and contagious good mood.
What?! A comedy about board games with Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman? I was definitely not ready for this! Game Night‘s plot fits perfectly in the recent ascension of board games fandom (in which I am included) with a humor very close to Horrible Bosses and an unexpected couple that brings out the best of Jason Bateman and of Rachel McAdams, which play two characters that are very fond of games in general and whose relationship is built around a slightly aggressive competitiveness complemented by regular game nights along with their friends. There’s room for Charades, Jenga and even for the Game of Life, as references to its core theme, including also brief shots that turn their neighborhood similar to a board game set. The way these references are combined with an enthusiastic plot is one of Game Night’s strongest aspects.
The journey, filled with unexpected and OMG moments, is frenetic and works as a mean to explore Bateman and McAdams relationship, their personal problems and the dynamic with their friends, while the plot thickens and evolves similarly as a game. However, with the returning of Max’s (Jason Bateman) brother, a very special board game night happens with epic and almost disastrous consequences, in which suddenly everyone is involved in a real set with dangerous situations and obstacles and unpredictable results. All this, combined with pretty cool characters and a creepy neighbor that loves is dog so much, results in a quite funny comedy that knows how to properly work and develop its characters and how to attenuate its most intense and frenetic moments, with a more light and comic tone. The jokes are there but only serve as complement, and the cast is quite charismatic, with an obligatory highlight for Bateman and McAdams performances that work like bread and butter together. The chemistry between characters, build around long term relationships, creates a curious empathy with the viewer right from the start. which made me root for Max and Annie (Rachel McAdams) simply due to their compatibility.
The dangerous and unexpected moments are constant, but an interesting depth is shown in the character development, combined with the enthusiastic way the movie takes advantage of its theme, by not making the references the center piece of the frame. In the end, Game Night conquered me for its simplicity and irreverence, for the way the characters were developed and for its fast pace and contagious good mood. Which explains why my expectations were delivered, by being a comedy that knows how to take advantage of its potential and also due to two charismatic and very entertaining performances by Bateman and McAdams, that are just the happy ending of a an intense, fast-paced, and joyful ride.