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Game Night is an American black comedy film which stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Kyle Chandler. It revolves around a group of competitive friends who meet up weekly to play parlour/board games, with issues arising when an interactive mystery night transitions from role-play to real life.

The first and most important thing to note when it comes to Game Night is that it’s actually funny. It isn’t a comedy with inconsistent laughs and an unnecessarily wacky plot; it’s a genuinely entertaining film with likeable characters whose behaviour, whilst eccentric, is well-explained.

The premise is immediately appealing and the plot takes a number of unexpected turns, although you will have to suspend your disbelief throughout. The personalities of the lead characters are established before the story kicks in which adds a layer of believability, but the narrative is just as zany as the trailer suggests.

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The stars of the show are Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, who each elevate the material through their playful and committed performances, but the supporting cast assist the two leads admirably. Jesse Plemons and Lamorne Morris are particularly amusing, (the former giving off a wonderfully unsettling vibe and the latter doing a rather impressive Denzel Washington impression), and their enthusiasm significantly adds to the experience.

To Game Night’s credit all of the performances are well-measured and almost all of the jokes work, but if I have one criticism of the film it would be that the humour is less effective in the final act. This isn’t to say that the ending is bad or that the climax spoils the film – it doesn’t – but the funniest scenes are the kidnapping scene and Annie’s (McAdams) attempt at retrieving a bullet from her husband’s arm, both of which take place prior to the third act.

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To summarise, Game Night is a joyous and refreshingly witty comedy which stands above the humourless drivel which commonly pollutes the cinema. The jokes hit their marks and the performances are fantastic, making for an experience which gives you everything you’re looking for going in.

8/10

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