Review: Catch an invite to fun-spirited ‘Game Night’
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lead a strong cast in this genuinely funny adult-oritented comedy
“Game Night” is a blast, a sharp adult comedy that earns genuine laughs without going lowbrow or diving into raunchy humor.
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple, Max and Annie, who regularly host a game night with their friends at their suburban home. Okay, there’s a decade separating them, par for the course for a Hollywood romance. But where couples in films like this are usually sniping and barely masking their hatred for one another, Max and Annie have genuine affection between them, refreshing for a couple in a big studio comedy.
Their pals include Kevin (“SNL’s” Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), another married couple, and Ryan (“Ingrid Goes West’s” Billy Magnussen), a dope who dates Instagram models for whom he’s a decade too old. Excluded from the gatherings is creepy next door neighbor Gary (a show-stealing Jesse Plemons), a socially awkward cop.
The game nights usually consist of party games like Jenga or Pictionary, with the ultra-competitive Max and Annie wiping the floor with the others. But when Max’s super-successful brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), arrives, he ups the ante with a murder mystery plot that gets out of hand, with the gang unsure of what’s real and what’s make believe.
“Game Night” is like a comedic take on David Fincher’s twisty 1997 thriller “The Game.” Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (responsible for 2015’s terrible “Vacation” remake) maintain a positive tone throughout and keep the laughs flowing at a steady pace.
Bateman and McAdams are a lot of fun together, and it’s exciting to see McAdams enjoying herself on screen for the first time in what seems like forever. “Game Night” is a crowd-pleaser to which you’ll want to be invited. Play along.
Rated R for language, sexual references and some violence
Running time: 93 minutes