Nerdlocker Movie Review: Game Night


“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” – Einstein

Have you ever seen the movie The Game starring Michael Douglas? Beyond the paranoia, fear of death, and thinking one brother murdered the other, did you ever think what that movie would be like if it were funny? Well the creators of Horrible Bosses wondered that very thing and now we have Game Night. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lead a comedically gifted cast through an adventure where nothing is as it seems. Kyle Chandler stars as Bateman’s brother who in the ever continuing battle between brothers is the clear winner. At least that’s what he wants his little brother to think.

This is a story of sibling rivalry that has lasted for decades and now it’s culminating in a single night of chaos. Competitive friends on game night break up into teams and quickly begin to realize that fantasy and reality are beginning to melt into one giant pot of confusion and danger. Even when they discover their game night has been hijacked by real criminals they keep finding bits of the game popping up everywhere they go.

The biggest surprise with Game Night is McAdams, she is genuinely hilarious as the competitive counterpart to Jason Bateman. In a cast full of comedically gifted actors she outshines the best of them. She is vivacious, frisky, brave and hilariously out of her depth. That said even when she finds herself out of her element her ability to adapt to any situation is not only commendable but damn funny. She is a great better half to Jason Bateman.

Jason Bateman has something about him that I just enjoy. He should have fallen into the same category as Melissa McCarthy of one trick, uninteresting pony long ago. Somehow though he manages to make his “one trick” just as funny and engaging as ever. This isn’t to say he’s amazing but he does his part and does so perfectly. His rivalry with Kyle Chandler is relatable and tangible as two brothers bound by love and loyalty but kept at each other’s throats over who the superior sibling is. It’s a hilarious give and take dance of two competitive brothers.

This is a movie that could have been forgotten the moment it came out. Luckily it’s filled with smart comedy and intelligent gags carried by equally funny people. Each character is well realized and played out completely and each makes for their own moments of levity that overall make for a compelling and hysterical single night of fun and mayhem.

An unexpected strength here is the cinematography. Usually this isn’t a major component for silly comedies such as this but ingenuity behind the camera made for fascinating shots and unique perspectives reminiscent of a board game making for a coherent theme of game night. It made the physical comedy all the more entertaining and engaging. This was a welcome surprise for a movie that could have skated by without it. This creativeness behind the lens made Game Night all the more memorable as a result.

It’s funny, smart, and relatively original which is saying a lot these days. It’s familiar but still finds the fresh side of what you may have already seen before. Game Night features wonderfully funny performances from a cast carrying out a truly ridiculous but nonetheless charming and unquestionably jovial adventure of getting out of one’s comfort zone. After this night they will never be able to play Monopoly again.

Rated R For: language, sexual references and some violence
Runtime: 100 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes
Genre: Comedy, Crime, Mystery
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons
Directed By: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein

Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 4/ Acting: 4/ Directing: 4/ Visuals: 4
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls

Buy to Own: Yes

Check out the trailer below:

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Chase Gifford

"Cinema is the most beautiful fraud in the world"-Jean-Luc Godard