Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On GAME NIGHT
GAME NIGHT, the new mystery/comedy from New Line and Warner Bros officially hits theaters today! The film is premised around when a weekly game night turns into an actual murder mystery. GAME NIGHT stars Rachel McAdams, Jason Bateman, Jesse Plemons, Michael C. Hall, Chelsea Peretti, Billy Magnussen, Danny Huston, Kyle Chandler, Kylie Bunbury, and Kabby Borders.
See what the critics think here:
Glenn Kenny, THE NEW YORK TIMES: "The directors, John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who were behind the repellent 2015 film "Vacation," show relative restraint here, in spite of a set piece that involves an adorable little dog getting its immaculate white coat doused with blood. And all the cast members - particularly the friends and neighbors played by Chelsea Peretti, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris and Jesse Plemons (who, as an uptight cop, delivers a deliberately robotic idea of a Matt Damon impersonation) - are very funny when they get the opportunity to be. And the movie is a pointed reminder that Ms. McAdams is one of cinema's most accomplished and appealing comic actresses. It's almost heartbreaking to contemplate how amazing she would be in a new comedy that was more than intermittently O.K."
Brian Lowry, CNN Entertainment: "The secret sauce is that the dialogue delivers an assortment of funny one-liners amid the escalating hysteria, as the core group gets drawn in deeper over their heads. As a bonus, a number of good actors show up in what amounts to cameos, giving the movie a fun throwback feel for those old enough to remember star-studded artifacts like "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World."
Chris Agar, Screenrant: "One of the strongest assets Game Night has at its disposal is the script. Writer Mark Perez does a very good job of keeping viewers engaged in the core narrative by throwing a number of curveballs along the journey, which forces moviegoers to stay on their toes the entire time. The STAKES are fairly high for a film in this genre, making it easy to remain invested even as things go to some absurd heights. There are also some primary subplots that add some welcome layers (covering Max's relationships with Brooks and Annie) that allow for some nice character moments that give Game Night a solid emotional core. Perez also strikes the tricky balance of serving up plenty of humor without undercutting the drama at the heart of the story. Not all of the jokes land as intended, but audiences will be laughing throughout."
Emily Yoshida, Vulture: "The script by Mark Perez knows better than to let the ruse go on for too long, instead packing the second half with a series of "gotcha" twists that keep the audience constantly on the edge of credulousness. The bulk of the comedy is situational, the characters (aside from Magnussen's riotously dumb himbo) are not types so much as they are a pack of petty, hypercompetitive straight men and women reacting to the escalating intensity of the supposed "game" they find themselves in. Bateman is doing a sharper-than-average version of the sighing and dead-eyed reaction shots we've seen him do before, but the stealth MVP is McAdams, who appeared on most of our radars as an effortless comedic actor in Mean Girls, but who has rarely been called upon to do the same since. Annie is twitchy and gung-ho, but also so soft-spoken that at times I wondered if her dialogue was actually recorded at a lower volume, making her stressful mutterings as she clocks guys with a fire extinguisher all the more strange and funny. There's a standout scene between McAdams and Bateman in which Annie attempts to remove a bullet from Max's arm, which utilizes a squeaky toy, a bottle of Chardonnay, and dual nausea to sublime comic effect. The moments where Game Night stands out are these, where the absurdity of the details can be the sum total of the joke."
William Bibbiani, IGN: "Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, working from a screenplay by Mark Perez, cleverly juxtapose real-life STAKES and wacky situations. The characters take the story seriously when they need to, so you actually care what happens to them. This is not a silly film, even though it's a film in which silly things happen."
Jon Frosch, The Hollywood Reporter: "
The rest of Game Night unfolds as a frantic series of run-ins, chases, fights and gags. A few are executed with flair: One set piece, filmed in a swooping, swerving continuous shot, finds the friends trying to make off with a Faberge egg they believe will help them get Brooks back. Others are mildly embarrassing (McAdams slinking around a bar singing along to a Third Eye Blind song is a low point). Most are just shruggingly generic. What's particularly frustrating is that an early, all-too-brief stretch of the film, in which the characters sit around playing Charades, is giddier and more alive than any of the high jinks that follow. You may wish the movie had simply unfolded as a series of loosey-goosey regular game-night scenes rather than straining so hard for shoot-'em-up cred."