Action Comedy

Film Review: With a Roll of the Dice, 'Game Night' Offers Genuine Laughs and More Twists Than a Game of Clue

February 23, 2018Britany Murphy

Game nights are an activity that many of us have experienced at least once in our lives, and they can be fun and amazing — or sometimes even the opposite, depending on the skill level and competitiveness of fellow players. In essence, it's meant to be a good time for all. But what do you do when a game night goes awry? When the murder mystery actually turns out to be real?

Game Night provides the hilarious answer to that question, beginning with a game night held at a bar, where we are introduced to Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams). The duo's romantic flame is lit when both of the uber-competitive trivia players answer a double-point question at the exact same moment, and from there we follow the couple on the various game nights throughout their relationship and subsequent marriage. Everything seems perfect between Max and Annie, but the added stress of an impending visit from Max's brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), is taking its toll on the pair.

As he's always been competitive with his brother, Max is not looking forward to the weekly game night that's being hosted at their home with their friends Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), Kevin (Lamorne Morris), Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and Sarah (Sharon Horgan). The group tries to keep their game nights as secretive as possible since their neighbor, Officer Gary Kingsbury (Jesse Plemons), has not been invited since his divorce.

However, that plan is ruined when Brooks arrives late with music blasting on his car stereo, alerting Gary to the happenings next door. Then, when the group finally settles down for their night of fun, Brooks insults Max and Annie's house, finds ways to make it all about him, undermines Max every moment he gets, and even tries to throw Max off his game by telling an embarrassing story about him, just before it is his turn.

To put themselves out of their misery, Max and Annie concede to let Brooks host game night the following week, for which he organizes a murder mystery party, hiring a company to come in and stage the perfect kidnapping, with clues leading to the ultimate prize — the keys to his red Corvette Stingray. But when two masked men crash the game, Max, Annie, Ryan, Sharon, Kevin and Michelle slowly begin to realize that it's more than just make-believe, and that their lives are in serious danger.

Directed by the dynamic duo of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, Game Night is a comedy that not only delivers the laughs, but a real sense of mystery as well. The performances from all the cast members are incredible, with each of them getting their comedic moment to shine. And the chemistry between all three couples is also great, so much so that you become genuinely interested in the squabbles and drama surrounding each of them.

A definite crowd-pleaser that invites viewers to play along, Game Night never gets boring, and you'll often find yourself wondering such things as, "Who did it?" and "Who is going to win?!" By the end of the movie, the audience will feel like they’ve actually been part of the game. Not only that, they'll definitely be happy to have played.

Game Night releases February 23rd, 2018 from Warner Bros. Pictures. The film has an MPAA rating of R for language, sexual references and some violence. Its runtime is 1 hr. 40 min.

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