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With: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Jesse Plemons, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Michael C. Hall, Jeffrey Wright, Danny Huston, Chelsea Peretti
Written by: Mark Perez
Directed by: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual references and some violence
Running Time: 100
Date: 02/23/2018

Game Night (2018)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Across the Board

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Written by Mark Perez (Herbie Fully Loaded, Accepted) and co-directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (the critically-bombed but box-office hit Vacation reboot), Game Night looked to be a high-concept action/comedy, alternating slapstick with car chases and shootouts, but it's surprising how well it works, and how funny it is.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams make a great onscreen couple as Max and Annie, both obsessed with games and regular hosts of game night at their house; McAdams's bright, goofy persona nicely shaves the edge off of Bateman's often nasty, sarcastic front. Max is in a lifelong competition with his more successful brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who now sabotages game night with a new ultra-realistic game; one of the players will be kidnapped and the rest will have to solve the case. Unfortunately, Brooks is actually kidnapped and there's no way to tell what's real and what's part of the game.

It's a fun idea, like adding jokes to David Fincher's The Game. Sharon Horgan and Billy Magnussen play another couple, Sarah and Ryan, invited to the game; the joke is that he's dumb and usually sleeps with dumb women, but Sarah is smart. The third couple is Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), who have been together since high school; their running joke is that Kevin has just found out that she once slept with another man during a "break."

Finally, the crafty character actor Jesse Plemons is a creepy, reluctantly-divorced neighbor (he keeps a shrine to his ex) who would also like to play. The movie contains twists that are more slap-happy than clever, but it's the small moments, like Annie attempting to remove a bullet from Max's arm, that provide giggles.

Warner Home Video's Blu-ray release is a professional job, both audio and video-wise for a movie that has its share of action and visual effects sequences. The only extras are a "making-of" featurette and a gag reel. It also includes a DVD and a digital copy.

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