Reel Reviews | Game Night

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

Nothing is as special as when friends get together on Game Night.

Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams) are having a problem. They have been trying for a while to have a baby but nothing seems to be working. They look forward to relaxing and putting the issue aside at the game night they host with their friends, Kevin (Lamorne Morris), Kevin’s wife Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and Ryan (Billy Magnussen). A new set of problems arises when Max’s super cool and ultra-competitive brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town (driving Max’s dream car) and joins the game. Of course, Brooks wins but he invites everyone to his house next week for another game night. Brooks hires some actors to stage a kidnapping for a murder mystery game night with the dream car, a Corvette Stingray, as the prize for winning. However, as the game starts, Brooks’ past catches up with him and he is kidnapped for real. Max and his friends are now unknowingly transported into a real life and death situation for Brooks and ultimately each one of them as well.

Game Night is a black comedy from writer Mark Perez (Accepted, Herbie Fully Loaded) and directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. Daley and Goldstein worked as writers on the Horrible Bosses movies with Bateman and seem to have developed a great chemistry together. Bateman’s character feels incredibly similar to the Nick character from Bosses. Whip-smart and intense, Max is the wholehearted straight man to all the craziness of his company.

And the company is crazy. While Lamorne Morris (New Girl) cuts jokes and does impressions, Jesse Plemons somehow turns the super creepy, neighbor Gary into comedy gold. Gary is grieving the divorce from his wife, Debbie and therefore has been secretly banned from game night because he is after all, SUPER CREEPY! Plemons takes the term deadpan to a whole new level with this performance.

Rated R for language, sexual references, and some violence, Game Night is very funny and not for children. The jokes are big. The hijinks are inane and the plot flips more than a coin before a football game. There’s nothing that is really new or fresh about any of the stories but it is really, insanely funny and is bursting with ridiculousness. If you need to just relax and turn your brain off, it is definitely worth checking out.

Grade: C+