Review - 'Game Night'
John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein's Game Night is a comedy with half-assed jokes but a pretty awesome premise that's fun to play around with.
The film follows Max and Annie (Jason Bateman, Rachael McAdams), a couple that fell in love and got married over their mutual love of all manner of board and party games. When Max's older brother (Kyle Chandler) comes to town and invites him, Annie and their friends to his place for a life-changing game, things go awry.
I got a very similar vibe watching Game Night as I did with Horrible Bosses. Horrible Bosses is a comedy with a great concept, but jokes that really only milk their potential half-way. Just like Horrible Bosses, Game Night has the potential to be a riotous good time, but settles for being simply enjoyable fluff. That's not to say that it's not funny. There are at least two or three times where I laughed out-loud, and I was at least amused throughout, though it rarely hits that comedy gold sweet-spot.
Though I didn't find that the jokes were that consistent, I never felt disengaged with the film. John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein working with a script by Mark Perez ensure that the plot moves along at a decent clip and their are some very clever subversions on the way that I didn't see coming.
I'm honestly starting to think that the problem with these types of comedies, and believe me it pains me to say this, might be Jason Bateman. Jason Bateman is the ultimate reactive comic actor, but his shtick is so immediately recognizable after so many movies of doing the same thing that its sort of run dry for me. He's not bad in Game Night, but he's no different than how you've seen him in any of his other recent comedies. Thankfully Rachael McAdams is able to brew up some good chemistry between her and Bateman and their relationship serves as a good center point to the film, she's also surprisingly at-home here in a rare comedic role.
The real winner in Game Night is rising star Jesse Plemons who plays a police officer named Gary Kingsbury. Remember when I said I laughed out loud two-or-three times? Well, Plemons was responsible for all of those times. This guy is absolutely hilarious, and every time he was on-screen I didn't want him to leave.
Game Night is a film that struggles for laughs (except for when Jesse Plemons is around), but gets by with an engaging plot that keeps viewers guessing. The film's not going to light the world on fire, but it's a solidly entertaining flick with some cool twists and turns along the way.