The new comedy from Warner Brothers Game Night has been praised by critics ahead of an opening weekend debut. Starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, a couple who find themselves tangled up in a murder mystery during an evening out with friends, the black comedy has been warmly received for mixing the comedy and action genres to deliver an entertaining experience across the board.
Second-time directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are being closely monitored following their appointment to helm Flashpoint and this has done nothing to quell that expectation. Currently sitting on a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 85%, there is hope that we finally have a quality comedy on our hands.
Game Night: A Comedy David Fincher Could Make
William Bibbiani at IGN delights in the cinematography of this picture. Unlike similar features, Game Night looks to be a genuine thriller that could have been produced by a high-end Hollywood filmmaker.
"Daley and Goldstein smartly, and impressively, film Game Night like a thriller instead of a comedy. The moody lighting and intense camera angles are the stuff David Fincher movies are made of. The film’s biggest centerpiece, a game of life-or-death keep-away, is filmed in a single, impossibly elaborate shot that amplifies all the tension while simultaneously calling attention to the fact that everything the characters are saying and doing is fundamentally ludicrous."
Issuing 3/4 stars, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone champions the performances of the two leads Bateman and McAdams. Especially given the former's long history with the genre, this is finally a duo that works.
"Even as Game Night spins out of control, you stick around for the inspired lunacy. It's party time," he concludes. "Farce is a beast to get right in movies. The fact that Game Night hits the mark more often than it hits a wall is cause for cheering. Hell, if you have Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams to play the game-loving marrieds heading a cast of merry pranksters, you're already ahead of the game."
No Half-Assing As Jokes Compliment Action Set Pieces
Benjamin Lee was slightly less enthused than his compatriots at The Guardian to only muster 3/5 stars. Yet despite its shortcomings, this is a comedy-thriller splice that gets the mixture more on point than other efforts such as Keeping Up with the Joneses and Let’s Be Cops.
"One of the major problems with the action-comedy-thriller hybrid is an inarguable imbalance between the genres, the laughs taking priority above all else. The crime plot can often feel grafted on from a kids movie thanks to half-assed plotting and cartoonish henchmen. But there’s more effort than usual here to flesh out the non-comedy elements. There are some stylish directorial choices, the violence doesn’t feel neutered and the action is surprisingly well-staged. It’s an improvement from the glut of tonally uncomfortable genre mash-ups we’ve had to endure in recent years."
Brian Gallagher was impressed with his early Los Angeles screening at MovieWeb. Such was his experience, the critic is holding out hope that this filmmaking duo will offer a winning recipe with DC.
"This is Daley and Goldstein's second directorial effort, following the 2015 Vacation reboot, and they've more than proven that their range goes far beyond the comedic realm, handling the chase scenes and other action set pieces with a unique touch. The filmmakers are likely about to take another huge, step forward in their directorial career, in negotiations to direct Warner Brothers next DCEU adventure Flashpoint. While it will be a massive step up in terms of scale and scope, their vision and execution on Game Night more than proves that they're ready and up to the task at hand."
Game Night opens across the US this Friday on February 23.