Game Night - This Almost Generic Bateman Movie Actually Rocks
Dir: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Starring Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnusson, Lamorne Morris, Michael C Hall, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
We have recently moaned about how Jason Bateman seemed to be becoming a sub-genre all by himself. And whilst Game Night initially looks like we’re back in that arena – it actually manages to quickly move away from, and beyond it. Resulting in something that is, at times, even quite funny.
A lot of this is down to casting. Bateman and the great Rachel McAdams make a very fine pair of ultra-competitive, not necessarily likable people, full of their own foibles and inadequacies, and living for their weekly game night, in which they get together with old friends and try to beat them
Bateman also has some major issues with his super cool, super successful older brother (an always engaging Chandler) – so much so that his sperm are slow because his brother’s car is so fast. (Something like that.) When Chandler attempts to up the stakes on the Bateman-owned territory of the sacred game night however, things get seriously out of hand, “shit gets real” as they say, and we’re off to the races. Thankfully in the hands of such reliables as Sharon Horgan (branching Stateside but retaining Irish accent), Jesse Plemons as a brilliantly creepy cop next door, and more.
This cine-literate film owes a good deal initially to the little known Bill Murray vehicle The Man Who Knew Too Little, and then continues to tip its hat to David Fincher’s The Game almost right up to the end, all via a Pulp Fiction echo – but did we really need Bateman to point that one out?
It’s by no means perfect. But it is funny. And it is full of really good performers doing very nice work.
Follow us on Twitter @lastwordonearth