You might think that being responsible for 2015’s Vacation reboot might let some of the air out of your Hollywood tyres, but not so for Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley. The creative team that co-wrote and co-directed the film that our own Matt Donato characterized as a “regrettable getaway,” contributing to the “slow death of mainstream comedy,” is now driving onward, with the New Line film Game Night – produced by Jason Bateman.
New Line and Jason Bateman have an existing relationship with Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, which previously yielded the very funny script for Horrible Bosses. It seems that those handing out jobs within the studio system are prepared to consider Vacation as something of an anomaly, then, as the project slate for this dynamic duo continues to fill with big ticket items. They are the co-writers of note on the highly anticipated Spider-Man: Homecoming, for a start.
Hopefully, the presence of somebody as experienced as Jason Bateman will mean good things for Game Night – a project that has been simmering in the background at New Line since 2013. It may also prove to be a starring vehicle for Bateman, who had been busying himself with smaller, independent projects until this year’s Zootropolis stormed to box office glory. Little is known about the plot, beyond the fact that it centres on a group of couples who meet up for their regular game night, with things taking a murderous (and, presumably, hilarious) turn.
This premise provides the opportunity for Goldstein and Daley to assemble a great ensemble cast – and that is exactly the type of scenario in which Jason Bateman shines, when it comes to comedy. The danger here, though, is that Bateman as producer might ‘play it safe’ and stick to the familiar faces we are used to seeing him work with – such as Jennifer Aniston, Kathryn Hahn, Kristen Wiig, Kristen Bell, and Jason Sudeikis.
Game Night is a chance to mix things up a bit, with some tried and tested comedy performers, combined with actors mostly known for their dramatic work. It is not clear how many couples are involved in this script, but there should certainly be room for some interesting casting choices to keep audiences keen. Now that the project has writers and directors on board, we can hopefully look forward to seeing more announcements soon.