Game Night (DVD) Review


Game Night stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as Max and Annie, an intensely competitive couple who host a weekly gaming night for friends. However, things take an unexpected turn when Brooks (Kyle Chandler), their rich yet arrogant single brother, arrives with plans to rent out an extravagant mansion and ropes everyone in an elaborate staged mystery plot.

Jason Bateman

An ensemble cast is delightful in their portrayals of suburban friends embroiled in an increasingly dangerous game. Jason Bateman shines, fresh off a stellar run on Netflix’s Ozark. Rachel McAdams is his perfect foil, and Jesse Plemons recycles his loser role from an earlier ‘Black Mirror’ episode. At the same time, Billy Magnussen reprises his meathead bro persona from last year’s ‘Ingrid Goes West.’ Sharon Horgan stands out, giving Sarah a likability that belies her character’s devious actions and bullying tendencies.

The physical comedy and joke ratio in this film are impressive, but what elevates it is the dynamic between Max and Annie. While their sibling rivalry may threaten Max’s fertility (to an extent), they care deeply for one another – making this an enjoyable, rewatchable film experience.

Max and Annie’s group of friends is equally entertaining, each member having a distinct character trait to bring. Ryan stands out as an obvious dunce with an impressive Harvard degree; Sarah gives Ryan a run for his money with her smarts;

Rachel McAdams

Rachel McAdams is one of those rare actors who can effortlessly embody various roles on film. She earned Academy Award nominations for her performances in Southpaw (2014) and Spotlight (2015) – in both cases playing reporters investigating Boston Globe child molestation cover-up; Disobedience (2016) was another nomination, followed by Doctor Strange in 2017; while more recently Game Night depicts an actual murder mystery!

Game Night was directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, best known for the dismal Vacation reboot and cartoonish Horrible Bosses movies. Game Night features a talented cast led by Jason Bateman as an anxious neurotic and Rachel McAdams as his wife; Catastophe’s Sharon Horgan offers welcome comic relief; Jesse Plemons reprises his pathetic divorced loser role from Black Mirror while Billy Magnussen appears as another meathead-ringer.

The movie succeeds best when it stays focused on its characters and their world yet sometimes wanders into irrelevant subplots. For instance, Brooks’ real-life police job doesn’t quite come across as amusing; thankfully, though, its cast members are so likable that you forgive these moments of silliness – not least its clever climax, with its unexpected yet entertaining twist.

Billy Magnussen

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a married couple who love hosting weekend game nights with their friends Ryan (Lamorne Morris), who brings along different Instagram-obsessed millennials every week; Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), Kevin’s older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who invites them all for what appears to be another of his games but then invites them all instead to something more intense designed around murder mystery game night modeled around a murder mystery with him (but it all turns out not be that).

Things soon begin to go wrong, however. The mystery is accurate, and our heroes find themselves running from masked gangsters and dodging gunshots as they try to solve it before it’s too late. There’s plenty of laughter and clever surprises along the way, but some set pieces make us guffaw, and some characters seem one-note.

Game Night’s likable cast helps it remain entertaining, and though it may not rise above other same-age American comedies, it certainly offers an enjoyable ride. There are some wonderfully fun shenanigans, from basement fight clubs and plane-on-a-runway chase scenes to exciting plane chase sequences involving planes landing. And you may never experience anything so unforgettable as seeing “remove the bullet” used as a highlight moment – great job, Game Night.

Lamorne Morris

At times during Game Night’s runtime, its plot gimmick may become tiresome. Yet, its cast (including Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Kylie Bunbury, and Jesse Plemons ) keeps things exciting and entertaining. Bateman and McAdams’ playful relationship seems natural, while everyone else enjoys playing out their over-the-top characters.

The film’s most unforgettable scenes feature its eccentric supporting players, especially Jesse Plemons as Gary, Max, and Annie’s socially awkward police officer neighbor who resents being excluded from their games and gives off light serial killer vibes. His presence contrasts with more reserved members such as Magnussen’s not-terribly-bright Ryan or McAdams’ slightly cynical Sarah.

Lamorne Morris and New Girl co-star Kylie Bunbury make for an amusing pair as Kevin and Michelle, high school sweethearts-turned-married-exes with only one problem – Michelle had hooked up with a celebrity while they were apart! As their Game Night pals get embroiled in fake kidnapping plots and other misadventures – John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein’s film may be overly ridiculous, yet still provides an entertaining outing.

Kylie Bunbury

Kylie Bunbury is an actress with extensive acting and modeling experience who has graced TV shows and feature films. She can be found on Big Sky and Netflix’s Pitch; additionally, she boasts extensive filmography, including roles in Pitch and Twisted, and has appeared as both a model and actor in magazines. With a Guyanese background and European influence, Bunbury possesses excellent versatility as an actress and model.

Bateman stars in Game Night as Max and Annie, a married couple who enjoy playing games together – from board games such as Taboo to imagination-driven games such as charades. When Brooks, Max’s successful brother, arrives unexpectedly, all his insecurities about him come flooding back – providing plenty of laughs and surprise in this funny yet insightful movie fueled by Bateman and McAdams’ dynamic.

The film is also an engaging adventure, taking viewers on a roller-coaster of exciting comedic set pieces from start to finish. From instructing criminals in how to do child’s pose poses to an egg chase through a smuggler’s mansion, something will surely please every viewer, including even those most skeptical of manufactured humor like Bunbury, who easily handles all sorts of comedic antics.

Sharon Horgan

Horgan, who grew up on a turkey farm in Ireland before working as a job center manager before landing her first acting role on Sex and the City, has since gone on to appear in many TV series as an actress, writer or director, including BBC Two drama Angelo’s and Dead Boss; Game Night; as well as co-writing Netflix show Bad Sisters which stars Courteney Cox as a single mother.

Horgan stands out in Game Night, the broad and sometimes violent comedy about two ordinary people caught in a real-life murder mystery. She stars alongside Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as Max and Annie, married competitive gamers trying to have a baby but struggling due to Max’s feelings of inferiority to Brooks (Kyle Chandler), their superior big brother. Ryan and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), along with annoying neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons), often join them for game nights along with Ryan (Lamorne Morris) hosting regular game nights with them all including irritating next-door neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons).

John Francis Daley and writer Jonathan Goldstein bring plenty of laughs, clever surprises, and impressively choreographed action sequences to make Game Night an entertaining romp. Jesse Plemons makes an amusing cameo as the police officer who takes offense when Max and Annie don’t invite him for game night, while Jeffrey Wright and Danny Huston add hilarious cameos.