This is solid grownup humor that blows most “wacky comedy” tropes out of the water.
Clever and fast-paced, “Game Night” is a tale about a game night gone so wrong that gunfire ensues.
Max (Jason Bateman) meets Annie (Rachel McAdams) during a trivia night competition at a bar. They both will give their all to win, and fall in love with each other because of their shared passion for competition.
Now they host regular game nights with a batch of regulars: a husband-and-wife duo (Lamorne Morris, “Barbershop: The Next Cut” and Kylie Bunbury, “The Sitter,”) a brash fellow (Billy Magnussen, “Bridge of Spies”) who always brings vapid women who look a lot like his previous dates.
Max and Annie live next door to a cop (the marvelous Jesse Plemons (“Hostiles” and television’s “Breaking Bad”) who loved playing game night but has been ostracized. He tries to catch the couple as other guests come to their home, but they think their secret is safe from him despite the fact that they’re under surveillance.
Now all they need to do to be happy is to have a baby. But they’re having fertility issues that may be connected to the way Max feels about his brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler,) who is coming to visit.
Brooks drives a hot car, has all kinds of money and a wild lifestyle, and denigrates Max and his life at every turn. When it’s Brooks’ turn to host game night, he goes all out and tells the group that they’re in for a fun night: They have to solve a mystery-real-time to win the game and his fancy car.
But the evening doesn’t go as planned. Real criminals enter the proceedings, kidnap Brooks, and leave the others laughing while they search for clues, all the while thinking that the kidnapping is part of the competition.
Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein keep things moving, with chase after chase and bickering among the players. Mark Perez (“Accepted”)
Bateman and McAdams have a delightful chemistry – we believe in this couple’s obsession with games and their ability to strategize, whether it’s the interpretation of a clue or the best way to remove a bullet. Each member of the ensemble has a chance to be in the spotlight. Morris’ Denzel Washington imitation is worth the price of admission alone, and Plemons steals every scene he’s in as the oddball but far from dense cop. He’s almost a comedic version of his character from “Breaking Bad,” in fact – he makes you uncomfortable, but in a way that you laugh.
“Game Night” will provide you a great night out, regardless of whether you play Pictionary afterward.