Will this game be worth playing?
Synopsis: Max and Annie’s weekly couples game night get kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks, arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it’s all part of the game…right? But as the six uber-competitive gamers set out to solve the case and win, they begin to discover that neither this “game”—nor Brooks—are what they seem to be. Over the course of one chaotic night, the friends find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they’ve ever had…or game over. (Warner Bros)
Starring: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, and Kyle Chandler
Writer: Mark Perez
Directors: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Rating: 14A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 100mins
For showtimes and more, check out Game Night on movietimes.com.
The cast for this is definitely stacked for this one as Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) are an uber-competitive couple who host a weekly game night for their many friends Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his date Sarah (Sharon Horgan) and Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and his wife Michelle (Kylie Bunbury). Trying to change things up, Max’s brother Brooks (Chandler) creates a fake murder mystery party but when things don’t go according to plan, the other players think it’s all part of the game. Their lack of awareness of what was happening was hilarious to watch and it just got better from there.
Their primary motivations were rooted in their competitiveness so it was definitely fun to watch them try and work together to win. Over time, reality began to set in that the game they thought they were playing was real. From there, the film becomes more fun if you suspend belief as the players get into a series of increasingly silly and dangerous situations with one one-shot sequence involving an egg standing out. Despite this, it was still a game to them and they were still having fun since they were all together because they still cared for one another.
Meanwhile everything else was going on, each pairing of players had their own special quirks that would permeate at times throughout the film. Max felt inadequate next to his super successful brother. Ryan was a good-looking, comically dumb man who kept inviting pretty but dumb Instagram models to game nights until he invited Sarah, a much smarter woman. Kevin and Michelle were married highschool sweethearts who were dealing with relationship issues.
After all, this was a comedy and thankfully it avoided becoming too lowbrow which is mostly a testament to the great script. A lot of the gags were in the trailers but most of them hit more than missed. They came nonstop until the end and mostly felt natural to the story. The dialog was often funny as well, however, what sold it was the chemistry between all the characters. The film also featured some action sequences which were well done and exciting to watch with more comedy sprinkled in to help lighten things up.
The acting was the best part of the film and that started with Bateman and McAdams and their excellent chemistry as Max and Annie. They were hilarious together and easily get the most laughs but each of the other players got plenty of funny moments of their own. Chandler was also great as Max’s sleazeball brother Brooks. Ultimately, the character that most will remember was Jesse Plemons as Max and Annie’s super creepy neighbor Gary. His deadpan performance and delivery stole the show.
Overall, this was an excellent, smartly-written, and well-acted action-comedy that was very hilarious and fun to watch thanks to the tremendous chemistry between its stacked cast of comedic actors.