It’s love at first sight when Annie (Rachel McAdams) and Max (Jason Bateman), both extremely competitive game enthusiasts, lock eyes during a pub quiz. The well matched pair settle down into a quiet, suburban life, complete with obligatory regular game nights with a group of like minded friends. When Max’s wealthy and successful older brother Brooks comes into town, he turns game night upside down by running a thrilling murder mystery party where fiction soon blends into reality. This isn’t a game anymore, but it is hilarious and action packed mayhem!
You know those movies where all the good jokes are in the trailer and watching it doesn’t bring anything new? Well Game Night is the opposite of those movies, where the trailer really undersells it. When I watched the trailer, I was firmly on the fence as to whether this movie would be hysterical or terrible, with many of the jokes falling flat. After watching this movie, and with a context and an understanding of the characters and their situation, the jokes that seemed weak in the trailer became riotously funny. There’s a particularly entertaining and well choreographed action scene where a delicate fabergé egg is thrown American football style from person to person as they narrowly escape capture by burly armed guards.
The characters are well written and endearing. I found myself deeply rooting for Annie and Max in both their survival and their growth as a couple throughout the ordeal. The other game night regulars are equally likeable characters, but the stand out star for me was the creepy police officer neighbour (Jesse Plemons), who was struck off the game night roster after separating from his ex wife (and presumably for being creepy). His attempts to procure an invite are initially awkward and uncomfortable, but later lead to some of the funniest moments in the movie.
Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman have wonderful chemistry. They’re a believable couple and they bounce off each other comedically. One particular scene where Annie is attempting to remove a bullet from Max’s arm is hilarious because it’s presented like a normal challenge for this pair who regularly work together in competitive gameplay, with the standard good natured bickering that comes with long term relationships included in the feat.
This movie shouldn’t be taken too seriously and yet it has a tender heart beneath the comedic exterior, with some very relatable conversations and relationship challenges. The relationship between Max and his much more successful older brother Brooks is a little over the top but ultimately lands in a sweet and touching place.
Game Night is loaded with laughs and has just the right amount of heart without being overly sentimental. The cast has great chemistry and their camaraderie is endearing. A stand out performance from Jesse Plemons and his ever present west highland terrier takes the movie to greater comedic heights. Highly recommended for your next laid back movie night!