Thoughts On: Game Night - Screwball Heart

24/05/2018

Game Night - Screwball Heart

Quick Thoughts: Game Night (2018)

A group of friends get caught up in a murder mystery game that just might not be a game.


Game Night is a pretty brilliant comedy. At the most fundamental level, it simply succeeds in creating humorous scenarios through solid characterisation. Specific character traits are then funnelled and manipulated into a convoluted mystery plot that, thankfully, distracts itself with character. My only criticism of the film comes from the fact that it does distract itself with characterisation - which is to say that, it feels like one half of a larger game that, just maybe, has too many parts. But, whilst character, and subsequently a meaningful conclusion, doesn't naturally emerge from this narrative--which leaves many traces of the construction a writer must do to create comedy, character and a complex plot--it doesn't seem to want to make statements that are too grand. At its core, Game Night is a screwball comedy that, in spirit, is reminiscent of Bringing Up Baby. Game Night is more complex and self-aware than the 30s screwball comedy, but it preserves its ability to see two people combat in a seemingly unbreakable relationship, and in turn develop through absurd comedic quarrels. This is in fact repeated about 5 times over between the three couples, a police man and a brother. Each character is then given their comedic faults - arrogance and stupidity - but the faults are distributed well so that there isn't just one fool, instead a foolish group, and, whilst no one sheds their foolishness completely, it acts as a painful road towards greater truth and harmony between the numerous couples. So, like Bringing Up Baby and many other screwball comedies of its kind, comedy is used to manifest conflict between characters that doesn't result in true drama, but, comedic drama that will eventually bring two combatants closer together. And such, macrocosmically, is the general point made by the film: When you play through your stupidity earnestly and with good intentions, you can only ever carve out more space in your own mind and in your world of friends for growth. For this, I have to say that Game Night holds as a comedy of somewhat rare class; not only is it funny, but it has heart. Less cerebral and more entertaining (or rather, less European and more American), Game Night is a contender to last year's The Square as a top comedy of recent times.

To bring things towards an end, I'll leave things with you. Have you seen Game Night? What are your thoughts?






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