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Get a Clue! – Game Night Review

Elena Horton, Editor in Chief

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Comedy is an obscure and rarely done genre in the film industry due to the implications behind the genre itself. Game Night is one of the few modern American Black Comedies to have come out in recent years, and does what can only be described as an ‘alright’ job.

Game Night is a hybrid movie, genres covering mystery, crime, thriller, and black comedy all in one film. Max Davis (played by Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (played by Rachel McAdams) are a happily married couple who share one thing in common: the love of competition. This has led to a long-standing tradition of game night. However, the couple is having a hard time conceiving due to Max’s obsession with one-upping his older brother Brooks (played by Kyle Chandler) who is in town. Brooks decides to crash his younger brother’s game night though and invites his group to his own game night next weekend for a special game of murder mystery involving an abduction. However, Brooks is actually abducted, leaving Max and his friends to find where he is before it is too late.

Left to Right: Sarah, Annie, Kevin (back), Ryan, Max, and Michelle

Pass go, collect $200!

Right off the bat, Game Night has an interesting premise and actually opens up in a rather creative way. We see how Max met Annie- in a trivia party -to which one falls in love with the other during a round. We then get quick segments of the development of their relationship. The only issue being these clips pass by so quickly it barely registers. On the other hand, a lot of the locations for the shots are aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.

Annie and Max in their house

However, most of these settings don’t do much except provide a bit of pleasant scenery. As for the jokes, it tends to rely on more meta and dark humor. It constantly throws jokes at you, so if one didn’t stick then maybe the other might. There’s a few running and visual gags, such as at one point, Brooks is slammed onto a glass table. Kevin (played by Lamorne Morris) comments about how the glass table should’ve broken. Later in the movie, during a chase scene, Ryan (played by Billy Mangussen) slams one man into another glass table that didn’t break. Kevin then goes ‘Man, glass tables sure are actin’ weird tonight! The only qualm here is that there are jokes that relies on modern day references, such as a stab at president Trump at some point in the movie. This, among several other jokes, immediately sets an expiration date as to when it will loose all of its charm.

Chance!

The energy from this film is, at best, mixed. You have at some points where the actors are into it, and it seems like the relationships are realistic enough to where they bounce off of each other. On the other hand, you have points where it seems as though as if lines are forced. Even then, the characterizations for a lot of the characters seems forced or blurred at points.

Ryan nervously holding the MacGuffin.

Ryan is one of these characters.The primary trait gathered from him is that he’s laughably stupid. In fact, several of the running gags are based off of things he’s done. The problem is, even though Mangussen’s performance is surely entertaining, this is a tiresome trope. There are dozens and dozens of “Ryans” in movies of all kinds, like Step Brothers or Jack and Jill. Eventually, the character itself becomes a carbon copy, and then the question begs: ‘What could he have brought differently from the table aside from realism?’

In context with the scene: Annie here is singing into what she believes is a fake gun.

Another character performance worth mentioning is McAdam’s performance as Annie. Annie is somewhat of a quirkier version of Ryan with a bit more personality. She takes the stupid character trope and twists it a little bit. While Annie is sometimes clueless and laughably so, sometimes she comes off as a pretty competent character. She’s given many scenes in which she’s able to showcase this, and while intelligence may not be a defining trait, her bravery and overall dynamic character gives the movie a bit of life, especially when she acts alongside Bateman.

Jackpot

Game Night’s overall gross for February totaled to $45,846,287. It went head to head with Black Panther, which earned $565,732,833 in total gross, Fifty Shades Freed with a gross of $98,534,545, and Peter Rabbit with a gross of $94,282,006. Unfortunately, even with its captivating premise and charming jokes, Game night was the least successful of the four biggest titles released at the time.

February Releases 2018 gross earnings

Game on!

While it may have been the least successful, one thing that can stand out among the other movies is that the dynamics between the characters are well done. As mentioned earlier, Max and Annie have good chemistry. They play off of each other for most of the jokes and almost act like a genuinely real couple. This is refreshing to say the least, as with most comedies involving a married couple, said married couple usually drive each other to madness with the others antics. While this isn’t a revolutionary concept, Game Night had three sets of couples. Despite the challenge at hand with three different duo-dynamics to deal with, it still manages to handle them swimmingly well. In fact, each couple gets even development and small arcs throughout the movie, something which the movie can be applauded for.

A dynamic duo

Fold.

While Game Night was certainly unique with the concept it attempted to put out, it dates itself early on which dooms it for the rest of time. This movie isn’t a bad movie persay, but not one to spend twenty dollars on. It’s a casual, refreshing watch with little twists and turns to keep your attention.

Brooks, trying to be cool still with his friends.

TL;DR: 7/10. It’s not terrible, but it’s not something memorable. Recommended to watch with a few friends as a last resort for when no one can decide on what to watch.

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About the Writer
Elena Horton, Reporter

Elena Horton is an RNE senior and Editor in Chief of the Saber. She's involved with pride club and mock trial. Her favorite things to do are play video...

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