The ever-popular game night can bring out the best, or worst, in people. Usually you’ll find out which of your mates are horribly competitive, which ones are sore losers, and the ones that have only really showed up for the free wine and cheese board.
Fortunately for Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), their love of competitive board-gaming lands them as the ultimate power-couple, and they host weekly game nights at their home with their friend group – including couple Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), and single man Ryan (Billy Magnussen), who brings along his latest Instagram-loving blonde bimbo for his date for the evening.
Jesse Plemons plays the creepy cop who lives next door, and spends more time standing at the letterbox stroking his dog (not a metaphor for anything else, I mean that literally) and staring long-fully at the game night house, than actually going to work to protect and serve.
Game night gets complicated when Max’s taller, more handsome and more successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up in town, and decides to host his own game night, but this time taking it to a level way above the standard game of Scrabble. He summons together a murder mystery evening, which quickly goes awry when real kidnappers show up and take Brooks away. Thinking it’s all a part of the game, the gang get on solving the mystery in their separate teams.
What follows is a wild ride of comedy, crime, and trying to solve what’s real and what’s not. Each team has their own adventures, and they all come together during the film to try and solve the end mystery, which may not be what they originally thought.
The cast all gel together quite nicely, and McAdams and Bateman are believable as a married couple. Bateman is the old reliable in humour, and doesn’t disappoint in “Game Night”. Each member of the group, including the Creepy Cop all provide some laugh-out-loud moments throughout the film, bringing it all together nicely as a neatly wrapped package. In the end, though, that’s what it is: the perfect pass-the-parcel in which you can generally guess what’s inside. The layers tear off and while there are some surprises, the manner in which they are given to you is predictable.
In saying that, the directing style of John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein is quite unique and enjoyable, making the movie visually entertaining as well as story-wise.
Overall, you’ve got a black comedy that provides enough laughs and amusements to make the big screen experience worthy. You’ll probably leave having a newfound fondness for Scattergories, and keep the murder mystery nights on the DL for a little bit.