by Sherry Lipp
The Lowdown: Despite an over-the-top plot, Game Night keeps up the laughs and twist for an entertaining ride.
Game Night is a movie that shouldn’t have worked. Comedies that descend into action romps are a dime a dozen as are films where average people are thrown into an organized crime caper – think Keeping up with the Joneses and Date Night , but Game Night manages to keep itself fresh and funny due to a talented cast and witty script.
What starts out as a fairly straightforward comedy takes turn after turn, and then turns some more keeping the ultimate twist so hidden you can’t quite figure out where it’s all going. Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a competitive couple who live for their weekly game nights with their group of friends. They love every time of game, and even more than playing the games, they love winning them.
The comedic setup is a winning one. Game night is hampered by the presence of Max and Annie’s weird neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemmons) and Max’s overbearing brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler). Gary used to be included in game night until his divorce and now he wants to be included again. It turns out everyone had only liked his now estranged wife Debbie. Brooks is rich and successful and always overshadows hi s younger brother.
When Brooks decides he even wants to outdo his brother’s game night – exchanging board games for a mystery party, the sibling rivalry reaches a fever pitch. It’s also where the film takes its first turn. When the pretend crime turns into a real one, we’re thrown in a completely unexpected direction.
This is where I expected the film to fall apart. It had been full of laughs and I was worried that all the fun would be taken away and exchanged for over-the-top action sequences. I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised that Game Night kept up the entertainment despite its convoluted plot.
Yes, there still are some over-the-top action scenes and some stuff that will leave you shaking your head, but if you’re just looking for some entertaining fun this film is a winner.
Game Night Images: Warner Brothers