Game Night (Daley & Goldstein, 2018)

There is not much originality in Game Night. It quickly devolves into a bunch of dupes running around like chickens with their heads cut off, caught up in a kidnapping plot that they initially believe is just one big practical joke. We’ve seen this before: oblivious dummies socializing in one room, while a real and dangerous fight goes on in the next one, with everyone thinking it’s all staged for their benefit. It’s still very funny because the actors here are good comedians and sell it, but don’t go into this one expecting something novel. I, for instance, somehow thought the premise was about a murder mystery party where the murders end up becoming real, and unfortunately for me that was not the case. None of the main cast is killed off or anything. They’re just subjected to a ton of psych outs that grow loopier and loopier as the story goes on.

It’s still very enjoyable, though. I was so glad to see Rachel McAdams doing comedy again, and she’s so entertaining in this. That scene where she holds up the bar with the gun she thinks is fake? Priceless. Billy Magnussen is also excellent playing the token himbo who goes through girlfriends like tissues. I’m almost afraid he’ll be typecast in these vacuous roles because he excels in them so much. Jason Bateman is, as usual, the reliable funny man he always is, and Jesse Plemons steals a bunch of scenes as an emotionally detached (and divorced) cop. My main criticism is that the film’s sole black couple are saddled with a tiresome subplot where they bicker about the wife’s possible infidelity with a celebrity. Lamorne Morris’ coming timing helps salvage these detours somewhat, but is that really the best the writer could do with these characters?

So my feelings on this do lie on the mixed side, but there are plenty of moments where you get your money’s worth, like a scene with McAdams trying to remove a bullet from Bateman’s arm. It’s amazingly played out and had myself and the audience roaring with laughter. And that’s about as much as you can ask for, right?