Game Night (2018) is a perfectly executed by-the-book comedy thriller, by which I mean that its limited conception is carried out with the utmost technical proficiency. Everything is great but nothing really stands out, including the plot twists (and fake plot twists). Some might call this bland; I say it’s diverting.
With his usual deep knowledge of film history and microscopic perceptiveness of the moviegoer affect, Richard Brody explains exactly why the film works without actually working; and he manages to smuggle the word “ouroboros” into his review, to boot.
What piqued my interest is Rachel McAdams’s performance. She’s a major star appearing in a genre film, but her performance falls at the high end of genre instead of elevating the material. Thinking back on her previous work that I’ve seen, I know she has the chops (Red Eye (2005)), but she seems to excel at being a character actor in the leading role (Mean Girls (2004)). When put in an ensemble she’s a bit lackluster (Spotlight (2015)), but cast her as a supporting actor and she’s brilliant again (Doctor Strange (2016)). She’s like a Jane Austen character: capable of three dimensions, but more comfortable with only two. In that sense, she’s the best part of this film.
Of all the jokes and gags, the one that I, an intellectual, enjoyed most is in the credits (minor spoiler): One of the characters is named “Not Denzel.”