Ricky's Film Reviews

Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases

Game Night

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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.

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Cast

Rachel McAdams – Annie Davis

Jason Bateman – Max Davis

Sharon Horgan – Sarah

Kyle Chandler – Brooks Davis

Kylie Bunbury – Michelle

Lamorne Morris – Kevin

Billy Magnussen – Ryan

Chelsea Peretti – Glenda

Jesse Plemons – Gary

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Winners

Game Night is one of those movies that brings together actors you wouldn’t usually see together. Horgan and Peretti for example; totally random casting of two women on different sides of the Hollywood spectrum. Plus Morris and Bunbury (the black couple) – unfamiliar to me so it was refreshing to see two ‘randoms’ I haven’t seen in anything else carry the movie along with the likes of McAdams and Bateman. These qualities work, shaking up the production nicely. Top points here.

Sarcasm and dry humour are the magic ingredients of Game Night, delivered almost entirely by Horgan. Whereas the other actors run around dropping witty one-liner’s as they go, the woman manages to briefly pause the movie to deliver a few laughs. Her character’s naturally dry reactions to what boyfriend Ryan often says about their situations are brilliantly funny, Horgan making the most of her usual “what the hell are you doing?” facial expressions. She also saves the day during the car journey scene where the humour seems to dip between everyone. Points here.

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Chelsea Peretti pops up during the movie as Murder Mystery agency manager Glenda. Sadly, the comedian’s role is very brief – literally less than 3 minutes – but adds a lovely dash of entertainment value to this scene (was I the only viewer who was slightly surprised at her size? I couldn’t tell if Peretti was wearing a fat suit or not, she looks so much bigger compared to her character Gina in Brooklyn Nine Nine).
Let it be known I am not fatist. I am observant.

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The opening credits of Game Night are wonderfully animated. Draughts, Chess knights and pawns, dice, counters and other board game pieces trickle around the Warner Brothers logo in superb definition. Rich, deep colours add to the effect ensuring an effective opening.

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Losers

Something about Game Night is just awful. Although it moves at a good pace and sees the characters constantly involved in dodgy situations, it’s a bit wobbly and lacks substance in parts. A scene near the beginning of the movie sees Max and Annie engage in awkward conversation with their neighbour Gary. This scene is painfully long, focusing on Gary’s bizarre peope skills as he stands on the spot grilling the couple about how they are spending their evening. And as they lie to him, they start to dig a hole for themselves that gets deeper,

..and deeper..

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..and deeper..

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It has to be the most tedious scene in the whole movie, and borders on irrelevant. Points lost.

Game Night is also one of those movies which cleverly uses misleading clips in its trailer to entice viewers in. When watching the standard trailer for it you will notice words pop up on screen:

The Karaoke (McAdams fake singing into the barrel of a gun)

The Stunts (someone falling from stacked furniture)

The Dance-Offs (McAdams and Bateman busting some moves on a dancefloor).

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It all looks like part of the game night in the movie, when in actual fact:

The Karaoke is actually McAdams wailing into a gun in a childish manner when faced with a potentially life-threatening situation. Not a karaoke part of the game night at all.

The Stunts is actually one of the characters experiencing a nasty fall when trying to figure out a clue in the main game.

The Dance-Offs is actually a flash-back ten or so years to Max and Annie’s wedding night where they had a dance contest as part of their event. Nothing to do with the movie’s story.

Don’t you just hate that? When the producers try and forge bits of the story that happen by using clips of totally opposite activity and slapping gigantic words over the top, to try make it seem exciting? More points lost.

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This movie loses its way quite quickly, ironically the second the competitors get in their car. Real people become fake, fake becomes real, strange nextdoor neighbour Gary stages his own event – which turns out to be fake. And then real. But fake again.. Game Night doesn’t stick to its main thread, it wanders off into the night and suddenly various other characters are jumping in and out and getting lost on their own little adventures.

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Lookers

Ok, stop for a second and tell me Jesse Plemons (weird Gary) doesn’t have the exact same facial features as Hollywood’s Matt Damon? The man could be a lookalike, I swear to god.

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I genuinely assumed Damon was part of the cast when I first watched the trailer for Game Night. Especially as Downsizing was recent in cinemas (usually actors move on to another production quite quickly). Plemons’s features are illuminated by bright lights at the end of the movie, and when his full face came into focus perfectly I just couldn’t believe my eyes. Little slitty eyes, longish head.. the man has Matt Damon’s exact same genetic juices.

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Game Night is worth a go if you can’t find anything else on Netflix. It entertains enough to pass an hour or so, but I really wouldn’t expect much from Bateman’s loved-up husband character or McAdams’ ditzy devoted wife.

I think this movie took a different path to what it should have and ended up at a dead end. If it had taken the right path it could have been brilliant. The concept is all there and paves the way for some excellent comic moments and one-liner’s between certain characters, but this just doesn’t happen. What has the potential to be surreal and laugh-out-loud funny ends up weird, dull and snigger material only at points. Had the producers jiggled the casting and done something about the scene transition this could have been awkwardly funny in places. I can imagine howling with laughter at other Hollywood actors legging it through streets, getting caught up in bizarre situations or scaling massive buildings.. instead, you get a funny script performed with minimal comedy. The cast are good – but what if they were different..?
Who knows.
But thank Christ for Horgan.

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2018 by .
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