Game Night movie cast: Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan
Game Night movie director: John Francis Daley, Jonathan Goldstein
Game Night movie rating: 2 stars
A couple find each other and love over a Trivia game contest, get married through a charades bout, and go on to lead their lives from one game night weekend to another.
It can sound like a trite idea, and in lesser hands, it probably would be. However, a combination of some nifty directing, winsome acting, and some genuine laughs make Game Night as entertaining a film as one with such limited goals can get.
It’s not just Bateman and McAdams who are having fun here, but also two other couples who are their regular gaming partners. Jesse Plummons as the creepy, needy and dangerously lonely neighbour also plays along nicely. There are some nice plot turns, as well as regular jokes that get a new life.
But Game Night loses the plot when it junks what was cruising along fine and tries to become a serious crime caper. The premise being that the richer elder brother of Max (Bateman) wants to take their game night bouts one step up into fake murder mystery territory. Chandler as that brother Brooks is suitably unlikeable and untrustworthy.
As the film’s many building blocks — there is some clever use of those here, to depict scenes — now get unwieldy, the storyline gets stretched.
The underlying tension about a couple (Max and Annie, the latter played by McAdams) in a sort of mid-life crisis, debating having a child, never really gels with any of it. The suggestion being that the fun and dance are alright, but one way or the other game nights can’t be your whole life.