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Review: Game Night

Game Night
02.20.2018
7 10

PLOT: Three pairs of couples prepare themselves for yet another average game night when a new member of the group decides to switch things up by introducing an exciting, unpredictable "murder mystery" adventure to the evening. Things definitely do not go according to plan.

REVIEW: Even if it wasn't filled with highly amusing scenes of R-rated shenanigans and effective action-violence, GAME NIGHT has at least one character that makes it worth the price of admission. That would be Gary, played by an utterly hilarious Jesse Plemons in a turn that is both shrewdly understated and deliciously scene-stealing. The moment Gary shows up on screen, it's clear he will be the most memorable thing about GAME NIGHT, although it helps if you're familiar with Plemons' other work, especially his creepy turns in Breaking Bad and Black Mirror. It's a luxury, then, that the overall movie is quite enjoyable from start to finish, featuring a bevy of enjoyable characters and a handful of laugh-out-loud bits.

Plemons isn't the only standout, however. While lead Jason Bateman can do this kind of thing in his sleep - his Max is literally the same deadpan character Bateman always plays - his on-screen mate is a terrific Rachel McAdams, who hasn't been this much fun to watch since MEAN GIRLS. The two play a competitive couple who, along with a handful of friends, get coerced into playing an elaborate murder mystery game by Brooks (Kyle Chandler), Max's brother. Chandler, mostly recognized as a dramatic actor, is supremely entertaining as the charming/smarmy Brooks, who always seems to get his way. The rest of the cast includes Billy Magnussen as lovable doofus Ryan, Sharon Horgan as Ryan's date for the night (who is much, much smarter than him), and Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury as a couple engaged in a continuous fight about a supposed infidelity that happened years ago (the payoff to this is hilarious). All in all, they are a supremely likable gang.

Game Night movie review Jason Bateman rachel mcadams Jesse plemons

Naturally, the game night doesn't go as planned when a couple of real criminals break up the party, throwing the evening into chaos and making the group question what part of their night is real and what isn't. Gun fights, car accidents and stabbings begin to pile up, and while the plot throws in a classic MacGuffin to keep the group moving (they have to retrieve a priceless egg from a gangster - don't worry about it), the movie's best stuff comes from the conflicts that occur within their ranks as things go from bad to worse. I went into GAME NIGHT fairly cold - I hadn't even seen the theatrical trailer - and I recommend you see it that way too, since this is one comedy where it wouldn't benefit you to know exactly what to expect going in.

And then there's Gary, the obviously disturbed cop who lives next door to Bateman and McAdams' married couple. Gary isn't a very pleasant fellow; that is to say, he gives off vibes that are much more serial killer-y than he probably intends, but being left by your beloved wife will do that to you. Plemons makes Gary an instant classic of a character, generating big laughs with the greatest of ease. (Gary's dog Bastian is pretty good too.)

Game Night movie review Jason Bateman rachel mcadams Jesse plemons

The film surely won't win any awards for ingenuity, but its simple premise is helped immeasurably by a very capable cast and a directing duo (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein) who inject quite a bit of liveliness into the proceedings. Plenty of studio comedies don't worry much about actually looking impressive, but Daley and Goldstein - working from a script by Mark Perez that features plenty of energetic set-pieces - make sure the film is very polished, with a handful of impressively choreographed action sequences. Surprisingly, the movie handily delivers on thrills as well as comedy, making for a rather fun night indeed.

Source: JoBlo.com

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