By Bradley Griffith
The movies nominated for Oscars have been returning to theaters and most are available for home rental. These movies are serious, deep, and thought-provoking films. If you’re tired of that and looking for some light-hearted fun, head to the theater and buy a ticket for “Game Night.”
Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a married couple who met and bonded over a love of games. It doesn’t matter if they are board games, charades, Pictionary, trivia games, or any other type of game, as long as the game to be played involves competition, Max and Annie are in Heaven.
Max and Annie host a weekly game night at their home. Married couple Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) always attend. Also always in attendance is their friend Ryan (Billy Rasmussen), who is eternally single but always brings a different female to game night. The group are best friends, and everyone loves each other’s company as much as they do playing games.
Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) is beloved by everyone, though he is almost always traveling on business and many months will pass between his visits. Brooks is the kind of guy who must always outdo everyone around him, especially Max. He has to have a nicer house, a fancier car, and generally live a more exciting life than everyone else. Max loves him, but it’s very difficult for Max when Brooks comes to town.
For the next game night Brooks wants everyone to come to the house he is renting, a modern and elegant behemoth of a home, for the ultimate game night. Brooks has arranged for a local game company to abduct one of the players. The remaining players must follow clues that are left behind to find the kidnapped guest and win the game. When Brooks is kidnapped it looks so real to everyone. The players partner up and Max and Annie are, as usual, determined to win. The only problem is that as the game goes on it becomes frighteningly real.
The best part of the movie is that the characters can’t decide if they are playing a game or if something real is happening. Was Brooks kidnapped, or was the incredibly realistic scene where he is attacked and dragged from the house kicking and screaming all part of an elaborate ruse to fool everyone? Just when they think they have it figured out, the tables turn on them again, and then again.
I’m not sure if Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams have worked together before, but they had great chemistry in “Game Night.” The movie is obviously about the ultimate game they are playing. But a large part of the movie is also about the relationships of the characters and the entire movie revolves around the relationship between Max and Annie. If Max and Annie had no chemistry the movie wouldn’t have worked at all. Luckily for us, Bateman and McAdams were well cast and if you didn’t know better you would swear they were a real married couple.
“Game Night” is not going to win any awards, and that’s okay, because it was never intended to be a serious movie to be discussed for hours after leaving the theater. If that’s what you’re looking for, look elsewhere. “Game Night” is a fun adventure for the characters on the screen and fun movie for the viewers to watch. There’s no deeper meaning behind the movie, but there’s not a dull moment in the whole movie either.
“Game Night” is a (mostly) light-hearted and fun time at the movies. There are lots of laughter and a little bit of romance thrown in for good measure. The movie keeps you entertained as the characters try to negotiate between what might be real and what is probably fake. “Game Night” is a good choice for a date night.
• • •
Rated R for language, sexual references, and some violence.