Over the last few years, American studio comedies have taken a break from quality. We’re given the odd 90 minutes of passable entertainment, stiffly pulling a few chuckles from the audience, but nothing especially memorable (with the exception of The Disaster Artist). Enter Game Night, a comedy with twists, turns, and extremely funny jokes – proof that Hollywood still has a good sense of humour.
The movie follows Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), a couple obsessed with party games. They host game night every week with the same group of friends. When Max’s wealthier, older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) rocks up in a Stingray Corvette to join in the fun, he wants to host his own night with a murder mystery theme. However, unbeknownst to everyone else, real criminals kidnap Brooks, and no game is being played at all (or is it?).
This is a film that could’ve quickly turned boring, repeating the same joke the premise is based on. But Mark Perez has written a screenplay that constantly surprises, mixing comedy with crime and horror (the feature is delightfully littered with pop-culture references, both visual and verbal), and maintains an exhilarating energy throughout, like an explosive game of Monopoly. And as well as the fun and ridiculous plot, there is an abundance of funny characters, each holding their own unique and hilarious idiosyncrasies. They’re a lot to handle, but we love them all.
The performances are full of comedic talent. Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan and New Girl’s Lamorne Morris bring the humour from their respective TV shows, and Billy Magnussen reveals he can be funny, and not just intimidating (as seen in last year’s Ingrid Goes West). But the most surprising presence is Rachel McAdams, who has starred in comedies before, but never with the level of verve and hilarity showcased here. Considering her recent, hard-hitting roles – Spotlight, True Detective, and the upcoming lesbian drama Disobedience from Sebastián Lelio – it’s refreshing to see her have fun.
Game Night is a fast, violent, and rib-cracking comedy that delivers hundreds of excellent laughs with rarely a repeated joke. Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein dance through Perez’s script with an electric style worthy of Edgar Wright (all the more considering the film’s clashing of genres) with thrilling visuals and musical editing. It’s one of the few studio comedies that is consistently funny and – dare I say – innovative.
Game Night is released nationwide on 2nd March 2018.
Watch the trailer for Game Night here: