Movie Review: Game Night is a great night out

Movie Review: Game Night is a great night out
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About the Author

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins

Tyler Collins is a thespian and performer who has worked with theatre, film, and TV across Ontario. He comes from Campbellton, NB, and has lived in North Oakville over 20 years. He is a graduate of Journalism from Sheridan College. Twitter: @MrTyCollins

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A games night at your home could be a pleasant way to spend an evening. Game Night, the new edgy crime comedy now playing in theatres, is equally enjoyable, though drastically more exciting.

If you’re looking for a refreshingly different comedy of extremes, Game Night is going to be a delightful surprise. It’s brimming with creative jokes and original tricks that makes for a clever movie. The story may be simple, though it makes the package all the more pleasant to watch.

The set up isn’t complicated – Max and Annie (a well-paired Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) host their weekly game night with their friends. After a mix-up and criminal plot overtake a “staged” kidnapping mystery, the friends are plunged into a rescue mission to save Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler) from a new set of games.

What elevates this beyond the average adult comedy is the smart writing of first-time directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. Aside from their extensive writing credits, the film is filled with their clear enthusiasm finally sitting in the director’s chair.

Previous credits like Horrible Bosses and last year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming have shown their skill at creating tight, engaging scripts. It’s also shown their talent in both comedy and action stories. Now they’ve mixed both genres exceptionally well.

Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

Goldstein and Daley’s script offers the kinds of twists that are enjoyable to watch. Even better are a few sequences of sincerely brilliant filmmaking. These scenes blend evident creativity and exude the clear joy the cast and crew had making the film. More so, these standout scenes add to the list of welcome surprises.

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One is a hysterically macabre moment using a squeaky toy to relieve the pain of a gunshot wound. Another is a dazzling chase scene through a mansion, where the camera doesn’t stop moving for over a minute.

Game Night is an easy-going delight and a hopeful change from the collection of disappointing R-rated comedies from last year. And unlike most black comedies, it’s mostly palatable for viewers with weak stomachs. There isn’t excessive profanity, crass sexuality or close-up shots of violence and gore.

But don’t go in thinking it’s all sunshine and rainbows, either. There are multiple on-screen gunfights and a few other surprises. Part of what makes the movie so extreme is contrasting the dangerous thugs against the quaint board game enthusiasts.

All in all, Game Night is just a whole lot of darned fun. It doesn’t bite off more than it can chew nor try and be smarter than the audience. A loveable cast and promising new directors have made one of the most appealing black comedies since The Hangover. You’re sure to be game for this kind of great night out.

Game Night
3 out of 4 stars

14A, 1hr 40mins. Action Crime Comedy.
Written and Directed by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley.
Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen and Jesse Plemons.
Now Playing at Film.Ca Cinemas, Cineplex Winston Churchill and Cineplex Oakville & VIP.

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