Game Night: Film Review

The trailer for Game Night was crap, and given trailers are supposed to show the highlights and encourage people to watch a film, I naturally came to the conclusion that Game Night would be absolutely rubbish. However, I was completely wrong and Game Night is properly entertaining and very funny.

Jason Bateman is Max and Rachel McAdams is Annie, a couple who host game night at their house every week. Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who is super successful and makes him feel inferior at every turn, wants to take things up a notch. He hosts a murder-mystery night at his place, so when he is beaten up and kidnapped, the guests – which also include Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) – assume it is part of the game – but it is for real.

Game Night is just a lot of fun and I laughed out loud many times. Most studio comedies these days try too hard to be funny and they throw in so many jokes, and only some of them stick, meaning there are a lot of awkward, unfunny moments where nobody laughs. With Game Night, the success rate is much higher because it doesn’t follow this practice. The dialogue is actually really clever and witty and I really enjoyed listening to what the characters had to say.

The characters aren’t that fully rounded except Max, and each couple has one conflict to work with throughout the movie – Max and Annie are struggling to get pregnant, Kevin learns that Michelle slept with a celebrity when they were on a break, and Ryan and Sarah are co-workers who sort of fancy each other – but it works. There are so many characters and things going on that it would be difficult to put more characterisation in. Anyway, the actors really work hard to sell what they’ve been given even if some aren’t given much, like McAdams who ALWAYS deserves better.

The stand-out has to be Jesse Plemons who plays Max and Annie’s odd next door neighbour, who they exclude from their game night. Plemons is rarely seen being funny so it was nice to see him doing comedy – he is so good at it!

A lot of the set pieces were seen in the trailer but the funniest ones weren’t – and that is a refreshing surprise. The one that stands out is a brilliant sequence where the team steal a Faberge egg from a fancy mansion and are being chased by security guards and are running around the house throwing it to each other. This is seemingly done in a continuous take and was so exciting to watch. That is just one example, but the editing and transitions between shots were cool, while I also liked a model town being used for the aerial shots and the fun end credits sequence.

The only actual issue I had was that it overstayed its welcome a little bit. There is a scene that feels like the end – everything has been wrapped up – but a twist comes out of the blue and adds 10-15 more minutes on top and while they were cool and provided a lot of laughs, I was kinda ready for it to be done earlier.

I completely underestimated Game Night. It is thoroughly enjoyable, genuinely smart and funny and with an impressive cast. The first good studio comedy for some time.

In cinemas Friday 2nd March 


  1. […] brother (Kyle Chandler) hosts a murder-mystery game, when the events turn out to be real. Review here. In cinemas […]

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