Out Now On-Demand
Friends who meet for game nights find themselves solving a murder mystery in this comedy from the directors of Vacation, starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.
Max and Annie's weekly couples' game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler, Manchester by the Sea), 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 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.
Rating: R16 Violence, sexual references & offensive language
Game Night shares its directors with the execrable Vacation, which should trigger alarm bells for discerning viewers. However the same duo worked on the script for Spiderman: Homecoming, which was pretty great, and co-director John Francis Daley gets a lifetime pass just for being in Freaks and Geeks.
All this is by way of saying that Game Night is much better than you might expect. An attempt to marry a crime thriller with an ensemble comedy, it succeeds mainly due to a pleasantly convoluted script by Mark Perez.
There are the expected scenes of actors riffing all over each that populate most modern comedies, but also hints at a bigger budget and attention to aesthetics like nifty camera work, tilt-shift photography, and some decent action set pieces.
Jason Bateman has probably done enough of these man-child roles at this point (it’s unsettlingly weird watching his character wonder whether he’s ready to have a kid at age forty-nine), but he’s reliably amusing. So is Rachel McAdams (seemingly channeling Rose Byrne in Bad Neighbours), and there are some nice surprises in the supporting cast like Sharon Horgan from TV’s Catastrophe, and Jesse Plemons being funny enough to steal the whole movie.
Your mileage may vary when it comes to the various bits of comic business in Game Night, but a lot of seemingly-improvised non-sequiturs reveal themselves to be carefully planned setups for later gags, which is a nice change.
The suspension of disbelief needed to sell the dramatic parts of the story is undermined somewhat when characters react in a blasé fashion to, for example, being shot. But it’s that cheerful detachment from reality that makes the film such a easy watch.
Culminating in an end credits sequence that plays like Fincher in a particularly goofy mood, Game Night isn’t great, but it’s surprisingly good.
The Guardian (UK)
Sydney Morning Herald
Los Angeles Times
TimeOut (New York)
New York Times
Hit and miss
Entertaining enough but feels like the same old Jason Bateman movie with a different cast
Honestly, I can't fault it
I went in expecting this to be just another mediocre comedy film and was pleasantly surprised. The whole style of the film may not do it for everyone but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything is done well; the jokes are genuinely funny, the acting is good, the visual presentation is good and personally I thought the score was really great. If I could ask for one thing it would just be more of the creative shots littered throughout that make certain things look as if they are part of a game - board game style houses, camera following cars as if they're part of GTA, etc. Highly recommended even if you don't think you'll get much out of it.
If you are looking for light but crazy this is for you.
I knew what I was getting coming in and it doesn't disappoint, if anything it was better than I expected. Oh.. but a whole bucket load of crazy. These are the type of films you have to review straight away as the particulars are hazy at best weeks later. But it was fun and truly insane and just what i ordered.
A smart, funny, slightly dark, and unpredictable comedy, from the director of Vacation. Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman work well together, and looked like they actually had fun making this movie. But the real star of this is Jesse Plemons (aka Meth Damon), who steals every scene he is in, as being the slightly weird and creepy neighbor. There are a lot of hilarious scenes in this movie, where you can hear the whole cinema chuckling. If you're wanting a good comedy with some surprises, this is it.
A solid black comedy that's smarter and more stylish than most modern American comedies. Dark (but not too dark) without being mean-spirited. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams have good chemistry. Kyle Chandler is the best a**hole in the movie, and Jesse Plemons gives a brilliant, understated performance as Gary, the creepy neighbour, stealing every scene he's in. I didn't laugh as much as I wanted to. There's a running joke that goes on for a good portion of the movie, and the pay-off isn't that great. It doesn't spoil the fun becuase Game Night gets so much right and is consistently entertaining. If you're willing to suspend disbelief, you'll have a good time.