A Priceless Review: “Game Night”


(Image from warnerbros.com)

By Jake Price, Entertainment/Opinions Editor

The game is simple. The host is kidnapped, and the first one to find him wins. Each player is given clues to help them progress throughout the night. They’ll never know what is real and what is part of the game, but what they do know is this no ordinary game night.

“Game Night” is a dark comedy that tells the story of a competitive couple, Max and Annie, and their group of friends. Every week they host a game night, but Max’s brother is in town for a visit, so he decides to be the host for the current week. He amps up game night, by making it a fun murder mystery, but what was supposed to be make believe becomes reality.

From the moment I saw the trailer for this movie, I was honestly not impressed whatsoever. It looked like another immature, adult comedy. However, that could not be further from the truth. “Game Night” is beyond original, and it’s the knockout comedy of the year that is reaching “Hangover” levels of success. To read more about the box office numbers of “Game Night” go here.

When the credits started to roll, the first thing that popped into my head was that the script was amazing. For a movie that has crude, adult humor, the script was extremely well written. The jokes landed every single time, and I genuinely laughed out loud many times throughout the movie.

The script also handles the story flawlessly. The story contains many twists and turns that potentially could’ve been far fetched or unbelievable if it weren’t for the writers taking caution with plot points. There is also a surprisingly large amount of action and suspense that keeps the audience fully engaged in the film. It’s a fun and almost interactive story that is full of surprises.

Although, the biggest surprise that came out of the entire movie was the stellar camera work. There is some professional cinematography that was very unexpected. There is an amazing game of catch within the third act that really keeps the audience on their feet due to the bold choice of using one continuous shot throughout the whole scene. The film has some camera shots that make it more professional that it seems.

The most unique camera shot that was used was the twisted version of an overhead shot. The camera was at a unique angle to where the people, objects, and buildings on the ground seemed like props made in a stop motion film. Those specific shots made the film look like a living board game. I found that to be a really creative choice given the theme of the movie. However, I wish the directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, would’ve played with the board game theme a little bit more. It was such a wonderful concept and it could’ve kicked the movie into higher gear than it already is.

The cast of “Game Night” is what immediately shot the film into its first place spot it so rightfully deserves. Everyone is a team player; everyone gives the best comedic performance they could muster. The standouts of the cast were Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Billy Magnussen.

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Bateman as Max was definitely the ordinary, edgy performance he gives in most of films. It worked for him then; it’ll work for him now. I will always enjoy his performances, but the reason why I think he’s so good in “Game Night” is because of the soft, innocent performance McAdams gives as his wife Rachel. They balance each other. They make their characters seem so relatable as husband and wife, and they really sell the fact that their characters are truly meant for each other. To watch an interview with Jason Bateman and Rachael McAdams on their characters and the movie go here.

On the other hand is Magnussen as Ryan. He is Hilarious. He gives a very cute, quirky yet grounded performance that, fortunately, really surprised me. The only other movie I’ve seen him in is as Rapunzel’s prince in the musical “Into the Woods”, and it nice to see that he has some range as an actor.

The movie itself had a lot of range. Adult comedies tend to be looked at as immature or a waste of time by many critics, but this was different. It was pleasant to see a raunchy comedy film that had actual effort in its filmmaking.

I honestly thought the movie was going to slowly and drastically fall like a Jenga block tower, but no matter how many times the film pulled a block from the tower; it stood up straight and strong. “Game Night” will always be a night to remember.