Game Night is Over

Madison Pena, Longform Editor

Photo by Warner Bros
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams hit the deck.

The witty comedy-turned-thriller Game Night, directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan M. Goldstein seems to pull out all of the stops, sparing no plot twist and throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the script. The film stars the hilarious Jason Bateman and the charming Rachel McAdams, who play the movie’s unusually competitive couple who are struggling to agree on whether or not they’re ready to settle down.

Things only seem to grow more complicated for Max (played by Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) when Max’s seemingly more successful older brother, Brooks (played by Kyle Chandler), pays a visit. The feuding brothers go head-to-head during the couple’s traditional game night where they’re joined by their friends: the notorious playboy Ryan (Billy Magnussen), who brings a different date every week, and longtime sweethearts Michelle and Kevin (Kylie Bunbury and Lamorne Morris). Their recently divorced neighbor, police officer and ex-game night guest, Gary (Jesse Plemons), provides an awkward sense of humor as he hints at his friendless lifestyle, accompanied only by his dog, Sebastian.

After a tense game night at Max and Annie’s, Brooks—always the competitor—offers to host a game night that the crew will never forget at the luxurious home he has rented for his short stay. Reluctantly, the couples arrive to the absurdly lavish McMansion greeted by their serious host who lays out the night’s game: a murder mystery. The game won’t be just any murder mystery; no, it’ll be one so twisted and intense that the guests won’t know what’s real and what’s part of the game. The reward: keys to Brooks’ car, the bright red Stingray that Max has dreamed of since they were kids.

Between the unrealistically petty feud between the brothers and some easily avoidable confusion, the only relief seems to come in the form of the promised humor and sarcasm, brilliantly inserted just enough to keep the audience engaged. While the characters’ stereotypical archetypes are entertaining for the first half-hour of the fast-paced mystery, they seem to grow increasingly more aggravating as their fights are caused by a simple lack of communication.

As a person who usually sees movies multiple times, I found myself thinking that it would be the only time I watch Game Night. Originally, I had been excited to see this movie because I’m a fan of the cast. But while the movie provided enough entertainment for the night, it didn’t seem to reach the expectations I had held for it.

The movie did deliver on its promise of keeping the audience invested in this intricate game night, whose twists and turns seem endless between fight clubs, kidnappers and the black market—giving it the feeling of a thriller with a comedic backbone. Ultimately, this movie might be more suited to home-viewing, where you can freely interject with your own theories or predictions, rather than the more serious atmosphere of the movie theater.