“Game Night” feels like an older concept brought to life in a modern comedy and while it’s not a masterpiece, it does allow for a competent good time and some consistent laughs here and there. The key word is competence as just about everyone here does a competent job. Even Rachel McAdams is very good, and never tries to out do Jason Bateman, but instead meets him at his level. This amounts to some great chemistry and some genuinely fun scenes where you buy that they’re a couple.
Bateman and McAdams plays Max and Annie, a furiously competitive pair of people who fall in love and are anxiously trying to have a baby. Their one routine that they cling to no matter how old they get is their game nights, which involves inviting their friends over for some competitive fun. Max is frustrated when his older brother Brooks comes to town and upstages Max at every turn. He even launches a murder mystery game in the middle of their game night. But things go awry when Brooks is actually kidnapped. Oblivious to what has just occurred the three couples anxiously scramble to finish Brooks’ puzzle game, unaware he’s in mortal danger. “Game Night” is very much a briskly paced but very easy to sit through comedy that wears its R rating on its sleeve.
The premise calls for a ton of violence and there certainly is with some pretty intense violence that thankfully never distracts from the hilarity. “Game Night” has a unique premise, but a deceptively simplistic one where Max, Annie, and their friends have to figure out how to save Brooks and deal with a genuinely murderous mob boss who wants Brooks dead. The cast is the reason to watch as along with Bateman and McAdams, there are Billy Magnusson and Sharon Hogan as polar opposite pairings, and Lamorne Morris and Kylie Burnby who manage to steal a ton of scenes with their bickering and a small sub-plot involving a sordid affair. There’s even Kyle Chandler and Jesse Plemons, the latter of whom is often shockingly funny, even though he’s technically a straight man.
“Game Night” does go on a bit too long with a lot of the climax feeling a bit fatty and over packed. Meanwhile, the way the writers break down common action tropes is hilarious but can on occasion wear thin. Not to mention the whole established personality traits of Max and Annie being overly competitive never really comes in to play beyond the single aspect of pushing Max in to the middle of the action and chaos. That said, while imperfect, “Game Night” is a solid ensemble comedy thriller that inspired some genuine chuckles from me, and kept me invested in its hapless heroes all the way through.
The Warner combo pack comes with a DVD copy and Digital copy. The release has a small array of features with only a basic meat and potatoes “Behind the Scenes” entitled “An Unforgettable Evening: Making Game Night,” as well as a gag reel, only available on the Blu-Ray copy.