Game Night – Motion Picture Maniac
If ever there was such a thing as destiny, Game Night, at some point, was surely headed for disaster, on paper there is absolutely nothing special or unique about it’s material in any way, shape or form; even now I cannot bring myself to ignore the fact that it is, overall, nothing more than the latest cash-grab comedy plopped out by the studio machine every time they’re too disinterested to make something truly worth a damn. But the planets aligned on a blue moon on this one because Game Night has been elevated from the cheap schlock it could have been because someone, somewhere, got the brainy idea to actually direct it, to put in a bit of artistic effort to hopefully make a… you know, good movie!
The plot goes Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple who love competitive games, board games, party games, video games, quizzes, the lot, and every week they host a game night at their house with their friends. One night, Bateman’s successful douche of a brother, played by Kyle Chandler, opts for a more unique game night experience whereupon he is kidnapped and the others must follow the clues to track him down; completely unaware of whether or not the kidnapping was real or part of the game.
That sounds pretty dumb and, to be fair – it is dumb, but I’m always ready to forgive a comedy movie any misgivings if it is able to do one simple thing, oh whatever could that be? Ah yes, make me laugh, and Game Night did that many times. I think the reason it really worked was down to the fact that everyone with a creative hand in principal photography and post production actually cared about what they were doing, the cast all have great chemistry with each other and part of the fun is riding along with them, it was fun going on this trip with these characters because the actors gave a crap.
But the kicker that really does it for me is the direction, when the movie begins it doesn’t appear to be anything special but it wasn’t long before I started noticing little flares scattered about the place, every now and then there would be an interesting camera angle or placement and there are a handful of wide shots that have been focused to make the surrounding area look like board game bits and pieces. It doesn’t have that god-awful cheap look every straight up comedy has nowadays and I really appreciated the consideration for filmmaking here, to the point where I’m actually pretty glad these guys are now directing flashpoint, I’d say they’re a good choice.
So there, Game Night is insubstantial and silly but it’s funny, well directed and well acted, I’m actually surprised this comedy the studio probably didn’t really care about that much contains proper filmmaking. There’s an action scene presented as a single long take that doesn’t look like a number smaller takes CGI’d together, the cinematography is creative and I’m just really happy this wasn’t ugly to look at, there’s been too much of that over the years, bravo to these filmmakers and actors for putting in the punch and making a very fun little romp.