An excerpt from my script review for Game Night which will be available 03/27/18:
3.) Quality of Characters
Recently my sister’s family talked with me about something they saw on cable about The Hero’s Journey and Mr. Campbell’s viewpoints on plot.
(Really it was my brother-in-law trying to “one up” me thinking he knew something I didn’t, lol.)
Now it’s been almost 10 years or so (damn it’s been that long?) since I’ve read The Hero With a Thousand Faces, but what they really took away from the TV special was the discussion about how most successful movies and its characters fall into a mix of standard archetypes.
(This started with a discussion of Star Wars, them only recently seeing The Last Jedi.)
Why I bring this up is because that’s what worked well in this story, and other Jason Bateman comedies, was everyone having a certain role to fill.
Now Jason Bateman will always be some form of Michael Bluth in these types of pictures, the good guy who works his way upward trying to do everything right. No short cuts. It works for him, and he seems to embrace it.
(The single exception here is his role in The Ozarks, where he’s still kind of a good guy, but only in comparison to everyone else’s bad archetype. Great show worth checking out on Netflix!)
And this works, especially if he has a cast around him to contrast his “do goodiness”.
Brooks, the anti-Max.
Ryan, the superficial “dummy” of the group.
Gary, the weird neighbor who came to game night once, and really wants to be asked back.
And then there’s the dynamics between all these characters.
Kevin and Michele, the high school sweethearts that we find out early on one of them cheated.
Ryan and Jillian, coworkers who reluctantly fall for each other.
Max and Annie, our destined lovers who have a rocky go of whether they can, or even want to, have a baby.
This all works.
Sure we’re familiar with these types of characters, because we’ve seen them before. We can also probably predict how the story will end up, but as Mr. Stephen King once said about his Dark Tower series, it’s not the destination, but the journey!
(The one issue I had with the characters was Kevin and Michele. I thought there could have been a better/funnier payoff with the celebrity she cheated with.)
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