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Game Night (2018)

Released:  Friday, February 23, 2018  
Length:  100 minutes
Studio: New Line Cinema
Genre: Comedy
Rating: Game Night is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of AmericaUnder 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

Game Night Synopsis

Bateman and McAdams star as Max and Annie, whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's charismatic brother, Brooks (Chandler), 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 begin to 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. With no rules, no points, and no idea who all the players are, this could turn out to be the most fun they've ever had... or game over.

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Game Night images are © New Line Cinema. All Rights Reserved.

Game Night Theatrical Review

Game Night Theatrical Review
There is nothing wrong with a little harmless, competitive fun is there?  What if it includes some sibling rivalry?  What if it all goes awry?  Game Night, the new film from Directors John Francis Daley (Vacation) and Jonathan Goldstein (Vacation), answers these questions in a mildly hilarious way.  Starring Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses) and Rachel McAdams (Mean Girls), the film takes the simple concept of getting friends and family together once a week for some fun with classic board games and turns it into a real mystery, adding some laughs along the way.

Max (Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) are avid board game players…and trivia…and charades.  They host weekly "game nights" in their home.  They are competitive but not overly obnoxious about winning.  Their friends come over for the camaraderie and fun and Max and Annie thrive on it.  However, one week, Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler; Friday Night Lights) comes back to town and joins the game.  Since Max has always been jealous of Brooks because he was seemingly more successful, more handsome and generally more well-liked than Max, this puts some strain on the relationship, especially when Brooks offers to host the following week's game night.

Immediately, things are different when Brooks announces they won't be having a traditional game night but a "caper" instead and whoever finds the victim first gets to keep his car – a stingray (coincidentally Max's favorite car).  Unfortunately, when Brooks gets taken by thugs for real, everyone thinks it is part of the game until they find out Brooks isn't who he says he is and he is in real danger.  Complicating matters, Max and Annie have a creepy neighbor, Gary (Jesse Plemons; Black Mass), a police officer, who is feeling left out of game night since his divorce and is trying to reinsert himself back into the fold.  Between murder mystery games, a real kidnapping and relationship issues for everyone you aren't quite sure exactly what is going on at all times.

Bateman seems to play the same type of character all the time.  He is the lovable, dorky guy who is always getting outshined and one-upped by someone else.  While he is an expert at playing the straight – even to a dog – and is excellent at it to boot, I'd like to see him do something different on occasion.  McAdams needs to do more comedy as she is excellent at it. Her delivery makes some decent lines truly funny.  The supporting cast is all rather great and adds layers to the plot.  They also help with the funnier scenes in the film.  A cameo by Dexter's Michael C. Hall is also a pleasant surprise.

The plot has some twists and turns and, at one point, I felt it became too muddied.  There was a kidnapping that was a game but it was real but then there was a secondary game being played unbeknownst to the players that was eventually revealed, etc.  See what I mean?  The script, luckily, has some witty humor that Bateman, McAdams and the rest of the cast deliver expertly.  Interestingly, there is also some slapstick that works well and offers some laughs of its own.  Generally, comedies are one or the other but the combination of the two makes this film cute and enjoyable for the most part.

With so much of the same content being produced and shoved down our throats these days, it's nice to get something a little out of the ordinary for a change.  Game Night certainly won't be winning any awards but it is a cute, fun, and funny movie that will leave you feeling good and might inspire you to start a game night of your own!

Grade: B


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  • 5/21/2018 1:58 PM EST

    Home Video Review

    What happens when it isn't all fun and games anymore? FlickDirect's Austin Putnam reviews Game Night, the latest comedy starring Jason Bateman...

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