Before phone and console gaming became a thing, there were board games, and if you are a 90s born, then you would certainly remember them. Playing them with friends and anticipating your rivals next move was thrilling to experience. But what will happen if a simple board game like Trivial Pursuit becomes real and I am not talking in some magical way? Game Night, a thriller comedy starring Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams in the titular role develops on this very plot. The story revolves around the character of Max and Annie who fall in love with each other because of their craze for games and winning them. After marriage, both characters hold a regular game night at their suburban house with their close friends. The opening scene of the movie is cleverly edited and shows hoe games like Scrabble, Pictionary and Charades became the foundation of their love leading to a happy marriage.
The movie quickly sets up the premise for the perfect game night which includes contestant namely Ryan portrayed by Billy Magnussen a dimwitted friend of Annie’s who is known for bringing even dumber girls to the night which make him seem intelligent, however this time he gets a date, Sarah portrayed by Sharon Horgan, who is much smarter than him. Then we have another happily married school time lovers Kevin and Michelle played by Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury respectively. However, the person that turns the whole Game Night upside down is Max’s elder brother Brook portrayed by Kyle Chandler, whose success has always made Max anxious about himself. As Brook arrives in his sports car and puts Max’s game night to shame, then invites every one of them to his mansion to take a Game Night to another level. Having played same games for years, everyone quickly agrees to it, and then the rollercoaster ride begins.
Brooks lays down the plot of game night where one of them will be kidnapped, and they have to go through various clues to find the person, and whosoever does this first will get his hands on the sports car. However, the plot takes a sharp turn when real kidnappers break in and take Brooks with him whereas other characters do not realize it, making the kidnapping scene a treat to watch. While Brooks is getting a beating Max and Annie (Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams) are enjoying a good time with other friends and preparing themselves for the game. After he is kidnapped the game starts and teams start solving the clues without realizing that the game just became weirdly real. Next 70 mins or so are filled with adrenaline-filled chase sequences, hilarious scenes, gunshot wounds which keep you invested in the movie. It may seem that movie will hit a dull point when all the characters realize that it is not game, however, the directors have handled it very beautifully which makes an even more thrilling ride.
No character in the story is dull or misplaced, and each couple has their situation going on as they try to save the brooks life. And the particular story behind each couple, be it Max & Annie (Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams) talking about having children or Kevin & Michelle discussing their past affairs, adds humor to even an intense scene The director duo John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein who co-wrote Horrible Bosses takes a right jab on the thriller movies by turning every cliche into a funny scene. However, this doesn’t dial down the thriller element of the film as they have maintained an apt balance between both of them. You as an audience will get enough thrills during the movie that make you jump in your seats.
However, the one flaw that I noticed was the less on-screen time for the character of Gary portrayed by Jesse Plemons. The scenes around this character are quite hilarious and are shot in such a way that tries to set in the horror in the heart of the audience. However, later we come to know about the real side of the character which adds another thrilling moment to the movie. Michael C.Hall makes a delightful cameo as a wealthy criminal known as The Bulgarian.
Final Verdict – Game Night
Overall Game Night is an entertaining movie which has the perfect amount of humor and thrill mixed with it. You as an audience get to experience high-speed chase sequences, underground fight clubs, and non-sensical comedy. The actors have done exemplary work and chemistry between each couple is just perfect. Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams are like a real-life married couple who complete each other’s sentences taking their on-screen chemistry to just another level. Jesse Plemons must get a special mention because his performance in the movie is a treat to watch. Game Night is the movie that gets everything perfect and aptly makes fun of serious thriller drama movies.