Game Night – Film Review by Frank L.
Director: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein
Writer: Mark Perez
Stars: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) live in a nice suburban enclave and host a games night. The regulars are a couple Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), along with Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who is blonde and dumb, and turns up with a different glitzy girlfriend with an IQ similar to his each week. They play various games such as charades and scrabble. The standard is not that high but they have a great deal of fun. Max and Annie have a next door neighbour Gary (Jesse Plemons) who used to be invited with his then wife but since their divorce he off the list. He is a bit of a party pooper. One evening the get-together is crashed by Max’s mega successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), at which Ryan has brought with him needless to say another new girl friend Sarah (Sharon Horgan) but unlike the others she is bright. Max lives very much in the shadow of his elder brother Brooks’s success which has caused Max to have certain inadequate feelings all his life, so much so that it allegedly affects the mobility of his sperm! Brooks enjoys his evening but suggests they do it next week in his house which is a far more up-market pad than Max and Annie’s place. They do and it all goes awry with much high speed careering around unlikely locations and previously well hidden facts coming to light.
The script is by one Mark Perez who has described it “as a comedy with a murder thrown in”. He gives each of the characters fine lines with which to wise crack. Bateman and McAdams made a splendid couple and were able with ease to play off each other and deliver Perez’s script with great comic style. Of the supporting cast, Plemons as Gary, maintained a vengeful sour-puss countenance like that of a seven-year old whose friends refuse to allow him to play with them. His performance was a delight. Magnussen’s performance as a male dumb blond was masterly. His ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time was unerring. He was a joy.
The plot careers on its own slap-stick, fast moving way with many excruciating scenes. This is in no sense a high-brow movie. It was made to entertain its audience and for this viewer that is exactly what it did. Relax and enjoy it for what it is.