Release: 2nd July 2018
Format: BR / DVD / DGTL
A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery when the shady brother of one of them is seemingly kidnapped by dangerous gangsters.
From the brains behind Herbie…Fully…Loaded…..comes Game Night; an ensemble studio comedy about the dangers of….scavenger hunts….hang on, what kind of grown-ass people have the time to plan and play scavenger hunts on a weekly basis!? I’m lucky to get through one game of Cards Against Humanity on Christmas day!
Despite its rocky foundations, there is actually some promise here. Directed by the guys who gave us the Vacation reboot and starring some pretty strong talent, there is no reason why Game Night shouldn’t actually be a surprise hit. Well, it isn’t, BUT it does have its moments. The film’s major flaw is that it struggles to cope with the mundanity of its premise. Rather than embrace the ludicrous nature of 6 friends mistaking an actual kidnap for a game, there seems an urgent need to speed things up, ramp up the energy, push the envelope of believability, film it all like the next installment of Crank. So, where this could have been an ode to 80’s farce, it feels more like Monopoly meets the Fast and Furious franchise.
Leads Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams seem to be having a whale of a time, as do the rest of the supporting cast. Jesse Plemons steals the show as oddball neighbor Gary, while least imposing villain of 2018 goes to Michael C. Hall. In fact, oddly enough, the film is at its most enjoyable when Plemons is involved (see bullet wound + dog, for stand out moment), while the weaker moments seem to center around Hall (#Act3).
Game Night is by no means a great comedy. It is barely a good film. But what it does achieve is the mission statement of entertaining for 90 minutes; which is more than can be for most ‘comedy’ competition at current. Depending on your affinity for the comedy of Bateman, and your stomach for some painfully unfunny moments, and your ability to spot the game nods littered throughout (hide and seek, tag, charades, to name a few); you might find a passable and somewhat endearing mirth maker in there somewhere.
Film Grade: D+
An EPK for people who are unable to make up their mind based on a simple trailer.
Special Features Grade: E+
The only game here, is the gamble someone made on turning a half baked script in to an actual film. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Just get back to the drawing board.