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Game Night Review: Finally, a Genuinely Good Comedy

When it comes to modern day comedies, we all know that there’s a line as to what constitutes either great comedy, or childish immature humour that doesn’t go beyond your average poop and fart jokes.

And in recent times, it’s becoming more and more apparent that comedy directors aren’t able to gauge where that line sits. The fact is, if a comedy doesn’t make you laugh, then it fails altogether.

Whether it’s direct parodies of famous movies (Scary Movie franchise, Fifty Shades of Black), blatant cash-grabbing sequels or reboots (Baywatch, Ghostbusters, Zoolander 2), or even just sex-appeal films like The Layover, they all seem to be missing the mark as to what great original comedies feel like. They lack that sense of heart, of genuine sentimentality, and instead opt to focus on ridiculous over the top slapstick humour.

It is with great joy that I can say that Game Night is indeed not one of the rest, and instead shows itself to be a great, fun comedy.

Directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein, Game Night follows a couple (played by Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) who get involved in a large scale crime syndicate on one of their weekly game nights. And with the directors both being confirmed to direct DCEU’s Flashpoint live-action movie, maybe DC has another shot at redemption. That is, unless they decide to drop out due to creative differences, like the past directors.

Now, by far the standout aspect of Game Night was the characters, as well as the actors who brought these people to life. Unlike a generic throw away comedy, Game Night has a tight ensemble of characters that not only have chemistry with one another, but all bring something new to the table (both comedy-wise, and in heart).

I was pleased to see how the writers chose to not simply stereotype them, and instead gave them all a level of depth and intrigue that made us genuinely care for them. In addition, the cast had amazing chemistry with one another, which lead to better comedy and riffs between each other in the long run.

Not your average stereotype-based comedy. Source:

Game Night is a great comedy film, but it isn’t a movie chock full of constant gut-busting jokes.

A friend of mine that I watched Game Night with told me at the end of the movie that he felt rather underwhelmed, and that he didn’t find it as funny as he’d have hoped to, which I suppose is fair enough. There are definitely some great scenes with hilarious comedy that had me laughing out loud (which I don’t often do in a theatre, mind you), and this movie will definitely hit home with movie-geeks that love a good pop-culture reference.

However, the film definitely focuses more on driving the plot and building the sentimental value as opposed to a constant supply of funny scenes one after the other.

And that’s why Game Night is so good. It’s not constantly trying to be funny, it’s just trying to tell a good story (with jokes woven into it). It’s a movie that has a lot of character to it, and right around the third act when revelations are made, the film really does strike a chord with your heart.

Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman in Game Night. Source: Roger Ebert

Lately, I’ve been getting sick with a lot of present day comedies that are purely based on making poorly executed jokes. There’s an aspect of sentimentality that needs to be incorporated into a comedy to make it truly memorable. Hopefully, producers will begin to understand why other comedies do so poorly, and compare it to a film like Game Night. Who knows, maybe we might be getting better comedies in the future?

Another thing I found interesting about Game Night was its mix of genres. I walked in expecting nothing more than a comedy, but the film’s blend of comedy, drama, action and even thriller at some points added to the film’s overall playfulness and creativity. It keeps you on your toes and makes sure that you’re always being introduced to something new all the time, thereby engaging the audience in the overall narrative.

Not just your average comedy. Source: Film Racket

On a more technical standpoint, Game Night is shot immaculately. It has gorgeous cinematography and the set design is also incredibly unique and special (the suburb looks like a board game). In the start, we are given a quick montage edited together with one of my favourite songs of all time, “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen, which further cemented my interest and got me engaged with the film.

At its core, Game Night is an incredibly well executed comedy.

It’s got great characters with great chemistry, spectacular writing, laugh out loud comedy and even heart. If you’re not interested in seeing Alicia Vikander’s portrayal of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, I highly recommend seeing Game Night. It’s early in the year, but I’m certain that it’s already become one of my favourite movies of 2018.

One movie that isn’t good is the latest Insidious. Actually, it’s one of those films that are so bad it’s almost entertaining. You can read about that here.

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