Game night doesn’t do full justice to its potent concept. But it is kept afloat by a talented and enthusiastic cast.
Game Night Synopsis
Max and Annie are a loving couple bond by their mutual fondness for games. Regularly, they host game nights for a selective group of close friends too. One evening, Max’s successful older brother Brooks, whom Max has long been envious of, turns up and proposes a grander session. Brooks’ intended evening of a mystery adventure then spirals into insane bloodshed and violence, this brought on by his seedy past unexpectedly catching up with him.
I have long been skeptical of murder mysteries evenings and the likes of, which by the way, I have yet to attend a proper session of. Technically, it just seems impossible to me for any to go well.
It’s like, how do you get a group of disparate personalities to cooperate with the sort of watertight script that’s necessary? What happens when competitive smart alecks decide to inject their own adlibs so as to impress a date, or for no more than the kick of doing so?
In several ways, Game Night is bogged by these same challenges, but in its case, it also shines by opting to be utterly frank. The cast is shown shamelessly, oh-so-shamelessly cheating. This, in turn, allows for the story to resolve a bigger challenge: that of the hard fact that a one-trick premise as such couldn’t possibly be extended to movie length without tiring.
From the mid-point onwards, Game Night does still occasionally veer towards being tedious. Personally, I found the weird neighbour jokes and dumb jock gags way too overcooked.
But as I highlighted in my one-liner above, the enthusiasm of the cast, on the whole, keeps the movie afloat. Bateman and McAdams also exude strong comedic chemistry that demands you overlook the movie’s hastily stitched flaws. During their best, you will experience the urge to join them in their absurd games.
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