Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams get into trouble in Game Night. (Hopper Stone/SMPSP, New Line Cinema)

Reel Reviews: Boring heroes and comedic kidnappings

We say, “One of these films is worth seeing.”

On The 15:17 to Paris, three young American men become heroes when they attack and subdue a would-be terrorist on a train to Paris.

In Game Night Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) host a games night each week, but things take a turn for the worst when they get tangled up in what they think is a murder mystery game, that turns out to be a real kidnapping.

We say, “One of these films is worth seeing.”

TAYLOR: The exciting event that took place, in reality and in the lives of our three heroes on the 15:17 to Paris, lasted only a few minutes. The movie starts when our three heroes are just boys, getting in trouble at school, becoming friends, growing up. They go to college, a couple of them join different branches of the military. They’re all atypical all-capital American Christian Conservatives and boring, so are their lives, so is this film. It’s not only that I’m not interested in such characters, they themselves are bored in their lives. “I’m in Afghanistan but nothing ever happens.” “I’m in training but it’s real hard to get up on time, so I fail.” “Let’s go to Europe, maybe something will happen.” Step one to fixing this film would have been writing in the life story of the would-be terrorist on the 15:17 to Paris. I bet his life wasn’t nearly as tedious.

HOWE: Well, if you are looking for a little bit of light refreshment compared to the train ride then this is it. Bateman is back to his usual best, his boy next door sense of comedy, but for me it is McAdams that steals the show this time. She is funny, sassy and kicks some bottoms in this comedy. The film is light-hearted but is littered throughout with the F-bomb so you have been warned not to take the kids, which is a pity because if they had cut swearing out, I feel it could have been a very good family flick. It has been a long time that since I have seen a comedy that has really made me laugh out loud and Game Night did this on a good few occasions. The funniest scenes I have seen in a long time involved Bateman and a dog. Throw in a creepy neighbour and you have yourself a very well done, well made and well acted comedy.

TAYLOR: Well I’m glad you had fun. For some reason, Director Clint Eastwood decided to have the actual heroes perform their roles in the 15:17. This is painful to watch/listen to and immediately noticeable. Not only do their lives lead to pointless and seemingly improvised dialogue, (to try to appear naturally vapid?) but so do their actions. When they go to Europe, they and we literally walk around looking at the sites for twenty minutes, while they provide running commentary and take pictures of themselves with a selfie stick. Nobody needs or wants to see this. By the time they get on the train audience members should wake up because something is about to happen. What appears to happen and what I think the real point of this story is, during the six or so minutes where the action takes place, the heroes charge the terrorist who fails to shoot them. They tussle and the terrorist pulls another gun, which fails to go off. I think God was supposed to have stopped these bullets, if these two firearms had worked properly, the heroes would likely be dead. This aspect of the story is not pronounced as such, but implied. Perhaps God did spare these men, which makes for an even more interesting story. Too bad this film gets it wrong in every possible way.

Taylor gives The 15:17 to Paris 0 scripts out of 5.

Howe gives Game Night 4 sets of keys out of 5.

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