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Blu-ray Review: Game Night

May 23, 2018

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a naturally competitive married couple who host a weekly game night at their house with a group of friends.

Then Max’s hotshot brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes over and decides to kick things up a notch by taking game night into his own hands, staging an interactive murder mystery game complete with hired actors.  When Brooks gets kidnapped, Max and Annie initially assume that it is just part of the game, but they quickly come to realize that they are embroiled in a real life ransom plot, unaware of what is real and what is fake.

Along with the two other couples who are joining them for game night – Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), and Ryan (Billy Magnussen) and his older date Sarah (Sharon Horgan) – Max and Annie have to contend with real life criminals and navigate a series of increasingly dangerous scenarios, while also coming to terms with the longtime sibling rivalry that exists between Max and Brooks.

This is the premise behind Game Night, a piece of surprisingly solid Friday night entertainment that strikes a good balance between delivering action and humour, built around a sharp script by Mark Perez that is full of fun twists.  Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein nicely pull off the darkly comic tone, keeping us guessing where things will go next and juggling the multiple pieces that are put in play throughout the film, before seamlessly bringing them all together at the end.

The film is bolstered by a typically sardonic performance from Jason Bateman, and he is nicely matched by Rachel McAdams, who reminds us just how funny she can be.  Kyle Chandler once again impresses as an initially charismatic figure who is also much deeper and darker than he initially lets on.  The film also features some wonderfully offbeat supporting work by Jesse Plemons as Max and Annie’s overbearing police officer neighbour Gary, who just wants to be invited over for game night.

It’s refreshing to see this sort of high concept ensemble comedy being put out by a major studio, and Game Night works almost shockingly well as a piece of escapist entertainment.  The plot is clever, the entire cast does great work, and there are a lot of fun surprises along the way.  It’s a wild ride, and an entertaining good time all around.

The Blu-ray also includes the short featurette An Unforgettable Evening: Making Game Night, as well as a gag reel.

Game Night is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release.  It’s 100 minutes and rated 14A.

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