The first trailer I saw for Game Night, I sort of knew I was hooked.
If anything, I would love to watch a movie about people who like to just play games. Board games and party games. I knew they wouldn’t get into the nitty gritty of great games, but any positive spin on board games is good in my book.
And yeah, sure, comedy and death. The other two things that go great with a nice game night amongst couples and friends.
And puppies. All gamers love puppies.
Max (Jason Bateman) met Annie (Rachel McAdams) on a trivia night at a bar. They were both captains of different teams, kicking ass, and knowing the same questions. It was love at first sight.
Over the years their competitive nature took them many places. Mostly to their living room, hanging out with friends and loved ones, playing games of skill and chance, and eventually getting married! But if there is one game they are not succeeding at, it is the whole pregnancy thing. Max cannot perform on that level.
And the doctors think it could be performance anxiety. It turns out that Max has a more successful older brother (Kyle Chandler). I mean, he looks better, he is richer, he wins all of the games against his brother, and just his life is so fucking awesome. And when the brother shows up, he wants to beat him at hosting duties as well.
He throws his own game night, with alcohol, and a game where people will come and abduct one of the guests! They have to follow the clues to find the kidnapped victim first, and the winning pair will win a goddamn car. Yeah, his game night is way cooler. Unfortunately, the brother was into some hardcore bad stuff. And the kidnappers this night are real, just the rest of the party won’t realize it until things are too deep.
Also starring Chelsea Peretti, Danny Huston, Michael C. Hall, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemens, Sharon Horgan, and Billy Magnussen.
“I throw my hands and guns in the air, like wayooooo!”
Bateman and McAdams play a delightful couple, who really care about each other and generally want each other to succeed. They aren’t perfect and they have disagreements, especially in the family department, but they work through it, they communicate, and they have a good time in the face of adversary.
In many ways, their coupling in this film is one of the best couples I have seen lately, outside of TV. TV usually has a lot more happy couples. Movie couples tend to have divorces. And that is a lot of words on just how great of a couple they are.
The film ended up disappointing me on the levels of shenanigans that were promised by the trailer. Honestly, everyone found out the truth of the situation way too early. If they could have had the characters think it was a game and really realistic for longer periods, there could have have been some much longer and happier jokers. But the jokes were too few and far in between.
Sure the overall movie is still amusing, or even cute. There are intense scenarios, surprise cameos, and twists you might not see coming. But these twists are more done for twist reasons, and don’t really end up making a lot of sense.
Game Night if anything has a lot of heart and can be a good time for those who watch it. It just doesn’t have any sort of repeatability factor and cannot live up to its plot potential.
2 out of 4.