Pin It

Film review: 'Game Night' 

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star in the hilarious action-comedy "Game Night," as sweetly devoted, charmingly competitive married couple Max and Annie. The pair delight in hosting game nights for their friends (Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, and Kylie Bunbury), inviting the couples over for a light-hearted evening of wine and a few rounds of Monopoly or charades.

It's all in good fun until Max's annoyingly successful brother (Kyle Chandler) comes to visit and proposes that the group raise the stakes, announcing that he's hired a company to stage an elaborate kidnapping mystery that each couple will attempt to solve. But when the group unexpectedly find themselves in the midst of a real-life kidnapping, they're suddenly in real danger and wildly in over their heads.

Writer Mark Perez's tightly-structured script (what a treat it is to finally get a film that bucks the trend of improv-heavy humor that most modern comedies have come to favor) delivers memorable characters, outrageous situations, and manages to find time for everyone in the talented ensemble to get their moment to shine. Making a welcome return to comedy, Rachel McAdams is endlessly charming, but the true standout is Jesse Plemons, who delivers an award-worthy turn as Max and Annie's creepy police officer neighbor, bitter over having been uninvited to the group hangout following his divorce.

Directing duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein lend the film a smart visual style, aping the aesthetic of a straightforward crime-thriller, with the situations tweaked for laughs over suspense. After a number of disappointing efforts (the less said about "Vacation" the better), the pair seem to have found their groove with the winning "Game Night," making it one of the funnier and more entertaining mainstream comedies in recent memory.

Speaking of...

  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'
  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'

    The formulaic film aspires to be both a raucous college comedy and a sweet story about a middle-aged woman learning to get her groove back. Neither thread is entirely satisfying, but what works does so because of Melissa McCarthy's immensely likable presence.
    • May 14, 2018
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'

    Michaël R. Roskam's film tries to blend a flashy crime-thriller with somber romantic drama as it tracks the relationship between an affluent race car driver and a career criminal with a heart of gold named. But it fails.
    • May 11, 2018
  • Monster movie team taps Rochester sculptor
  • Monster movie team taps Rochester sculptor

    A live-action short film, "The Molok," is being planned by filmmakers and artists in New York City and Rochester, and is scheduled to be completed in early 2019. Right now, the creators are making a monster.
    • May 8, 2018
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Movie Reviews

  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'

    Like swiping left through a subtitled version of Tinder for 90 minutes.
    • May 18, 2018
  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'
  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'

    The formulaic film aspires to be both a raucous college comedy and a sweet story about a middle-aged woman learning to get her groove back. Neither thread is entirely satisfying, but what works does so because of Melissa McCarthy's immensely likable presence.
    • May 14, 2018
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'

    Michaël R. Roskam's film tries to blend a flashy crime-thriller with somber romantic drama as it tracks the relationship between an affluent race car driver and a career criminal with a heart of gold named. But it fails.
    • May 11, 2018
  • More »

More by Adam Lubitow

  • Food for all
  • Food for all

    Rochester's food culture has never existed in a vacuum. In this year's edition of DISH, we focuse less on the food itself and more on the effect those factors like history, tradition, and trends have had on creating the cuisine
    • May 23, 2018
  • Throwback screening of 'Diva' at The Little
  • Throwback screening of 'Diva' at The Little

    The cult film screening, along with live opera and more, is part of the "Diva Festiva" event to raise funds for restorations to the historic theater.
    • May 21, 2018
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'

    Like swiping left through a subtitled version of Tinder for 90 minutes.
    • May 18, 2018
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Film review: 'Baby Driver'

    • Jun 30, 2017
  • Film review: 'Battle of the Sexes'

    Dramatizing an infamous historical matchup that pitted a capable woman against a buffoonish, showboating man (why does that sounds so familiar?), "Battle of the Sexes" is a winning crowd-pleaser
    • Sep 26, 2017

Latest in Movie Reviews

  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'

    Like swiping left through a subtitled version of Tinder for 90 minutes.
    • May 18, 2018
  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'
  • Film review: 'Life of the Party'

    The formulaic film aspires to be both a raucous college comedy and a sweet story about a middle-aged woman learning to get her groove back. Neither thread is entirely satisfying, but what works does so because of Melissa McCarthy's immensely likable presence.
    • May 14, 2018
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'
  • Film review: 'Racer and the Jailbird'

    Michaël R. Roskam's film tries to blend a flashy crime-thriller with somber romantic drama as it tracks the relationship between an affluent race car driver and a career criminal with a heart of gold named. But it fails.
    • May 11, 2018
  • More »

More by Adam Lubitow

  • Food for all
  • Food for all

    Rochester's food culture has never existed in a vacuum. In this year's edition of DISH, we focuse less on the food itself and more on the effect those factors like history, tradition, and trends have had on creating the cuisine
    • May 23, 2018
  • Throwback screening of 'Diva' at The Little
  • Throwback screening of 'Diva' at The Little

    The cult film screening, along with live opera and more, is part of the "Diva Festiva" event to raise funds for restorations to the historic theater.
    • May 21, 2018
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'
  • Film review: 'Let the Sunshine In'

    Like swiping left through a subtitled version of Tinder for 90 minutes.
    • May 18, 2018
  • More »

Browse Listings

Submit an event

Tweets @RocCityNews

© 2018 City Newspaper.

Website powered by Foundation.