“Wait, wait! I have kids at home.”
“Not with an ass like that you don’t.”
That should tell you right there what kind of movie you’re getting into. I went into this completely blind except for the trailer earlier this year and it was a very rewarding experience. There are many twists and turns ahead so buckle up, get the med kit, and let’s get to gaming!
The movie is about some friends who like to play games and, in particular, party-type games like charades. The main couple is Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams), who are very competitive not only with each other, but with everyone else they meet and interact with. Max has a brother (Kyle Chandler) who has done nothing but demean him his whole life, so Max’s entire motivation is to outdo the sibling, and that sibling definitely goes out of his way to completely bury Bateman’s character. I’ve seen Chandler in other movies but really only recognize him from the Netflix series Bloodline, because his face is all over their ads that come up between shows.
I don’t really recognize the rest of the cast except for Jesse Plemons who plays the weird neighbor next door and looks like a Matt Damon clone that didn’t make it out of quality control. I will say that his creepy guy is really good and not to get too far off topic, but the episode of Black Mirror he’s in was excellent. I kind of want to revisit some of the other films he’s been in just because of that episode and this movie here. I kind of feel he gets written off pretty easily as an actor due to his resemblance to Damon.
Now, regardless of how little knowledge I have of the cast, I will say they were all great. Bateman is his usual, but playing alongside McAdams worked amazingly well. They had a really good chemistry, and I felt like they were a couple that really worked. McAdams definitely looked to have a lot of fun making this. I would also add that the other gamers were fun too. The whole group felt very cohesive, as if they had spent the last few years enjoying each other’s company on game nights of days past.
Actually there are some other cast members I recognized, but that would ruin some of the fun in seeing this, so I’m not going to mention them. Which brings me to the actual review portion and how to go about this without spoiling anything. See, I think this is best experienced by going in blind. If you watch or read too much about it, you’ll get surprises and twists spoiled. One of the biggest things I enjoyed was seeing how this actually unfolds, because how I thought this would play out was nothing like how it actually does. I will say the entire premise was very well done.
So without talking about the actual story part, lets chat about a certain scene. I had considered doing a Film Frame Friday about this, but I’ll just toss it in the review instead. See, there’s this object that the gamers are going after and the scene that unfolds is done in one long take. There has to be some CGI assistance in here, but it makes no difference. So what this entails is the group acquiring an object from—how you say—some nefarious people. The scene becomes a chase throughout a mansion in a long take that goes up and down stairs and across wide gaps. About halfway through, I realized it was continuous and really started to pay attention. The whole experience is seamless.
Well, what about the comedy? I’m not a big fan of comedies myself. I like them and have my favorites, but they tend to devolve down into a drama or maybe a love story by the end and just don’t maintain the comedic elements all the way through. The comedies I tend to like manage to stay humorous throughout and I can say that Game Night manages to do just that. It doesn’t run out of steam or get old, for me anyway. I laughed and laughed hard right up to the end which I very much appreciated when I watched this. So between the comedy and the twists in the story, I give this one 4/5 stars. It was that good.