Brought to you with eye-rolling unsubtlety by Tostitos® and Stella Artois™, “Game Night” invites you for a night of chips, dips and competitive quips.
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a married couple who fell in love at first tie break. Both deeply competitive, there’s nothing they love more than hosting their friends for Game Night. But when Max’s conspicuously successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes to town and offers to host an extra special Game Night, Max’s competitive streak goes into overdrive. But Brooks’ plans for an elaborate murder mystery take an even more sinister turn when his fake abduction is interrupted by real kidnappers.
If David Fincher made zany comedies, they’d look like “Game Night”. Co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein wear their inspirations on their sleeve and in addition to Fincher’s slickly kinetic camera trickery and dark, ochre-tinged colour grading there are nods to “Scream” and “Pulp Fiction” thrown in for good measure.
The cast are good value, with Jason Bateman staying on the right side of irritating (although his schtick occasionally goes on a little too long) and some of the biggest laughs come from the supporting players, especially Billy Magnussen and Sharon Horgan but everyone gets a moment or two to shine as the movie manages to land most of its punchlines. Rachel McAdams is bubbly and likeable throughout, helping ease the story over its more preposterous moments.
It does a good job, for the most part, of sticking to its concept although it eventually ties itself up in knots by attempting one or two ‘clever’ twists too many, especially for a film which wants to be this archly self-aware.
Luckily, its nippy 100 minute run time keeps things moving briskly enough that the flaws don’t drag it down too much. It’s not a classic comedy by any means, but it’s a very fun watch. There’s more than enough wit and style on show, though, to suggest that there’s method in the madness of Warner Bros’ decision to roll the dice on Daley and Goldstein for their troubled “Flashpoint” project.