Let me start this off by saying I love game nights. Between a few rounds of Cards Against Humanity, Scrabble, and Parcheesi, there’s usually laughs aplenty. I’m also known for hosting a few murder mysteries each year. So when I came across the trailer for Game Night, I couldn’t resist checking out the latest action-comedy from Roadshow.
Game Night follows young couple, Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), who team up with their friends Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Kevin (Lamorne Morris), and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) each week for a game night. Cue the montage of classic board and party games as well as creepy neighbour, Gary (Jesse Plemons), who use to participate in these nights before his wife left him.
The whole premise for the film revolves around Max and Annie, who are insanely competitive and try to win at all costs, and their desire to have a child. When Max’s brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), arrives in town and offers to host the following week’s game night, where he promises to up the ante, Max and Annie realize that by beating Brooks at his own game, they’ll elevate the stress that has a stranglehold on Max’s ability to procreate.
Upon arrival at Brooks’ domain, the other players, including Ryan’s newest date Sarah (Sharon Horgan), are informed that they’re about to partake in a murder mystery game. Someone is going to be kidnapped and the aim of the game is to follow the clues and find the victim.
Sounds simple, right?
When Brooks is kidnapped, the remaining characters pair off and start searching the city in hopes of being the first ones to get to him and by doing so, win the coveted prize.
It’s only a matter of time before those involved realize that this isn’t the false kidnapping that Brooks had organized. It’s real. And Brooks has gotten himself into some seriously trouble after a few shady “business” deals.
Hilarity and hijinks ensue as all main characters follow a crazy, almost nonsensical plot that includes taking on the black market, false kidnappers, and eventually genuine bad guys.
Game Night avoids the typical comedy traps thanks to its charismatic ensemble cast, a sharply witted script from writer Mark Perez, as well as a few well-placed twists and turns that make this film one of the more enjoyable big-studio comedies in recent memory.
As Max and Annie, Bateman and McAdams have great chemistry. They really come across as a couple in love. Their comedic timing is impeccable as well as their interactions with each other leaves audiences rooting for them to succeed in the next chapter of their lives, as well as rolling on the floor in laughter as they’re put into situations that are far-fetched and hard to believe. They’re quite hilarious with Bateman using subdued wit while McAdams gets a little wackier and over the top with her comedic chops.
Never has a film left me in stitches to the point where I had tears rolling down my cheeks from laughing too hard. It is rare for me to find a comedy that is side-splitting funny from start to finish, but Game Night certainly is an exception. For the first time in a long time, the funny moments weren’t just reserved for the trailer. Genuine laugh out loud moments occurred throughout the entire film. Some moments, though over the top and repetitive, didn’t border on annoying, despite the same joke being told multiple times.
Special mention has to go to Billy Magnussen who played the dim-witted, yet sweet Ryan. He did have good intentions, just didn’t always execute them in a smart fashion which proved to be quite the comic relief in a film where every single character, regardless of how small the role, was able to deliver roll on floor funny moments.
Game Night isn’t a perfect film by any means. The fast-paced first hour gives way to a slower third-act that runs the plot a little thin. However it is redeemed by the end with a series of twists very becoming of the absurd plot.
Written by Rhiannon Elizabeth Irons