'Game Night' review - family fun taken violently beyond the next level


An evening of light-hearted kidnapping and shoot-outs, this twisted romantic comedy is certainly no Jumanji. Gregory Pollard reviews.

Game Night is a romantic comedy with a twist. It centers around the married couple Max and Annie, played by Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, who are trivia and board game buffs that host game nights as a welcome distraction to the ongoing debate of starting a family. When Max’s older and more successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) visits, he hijacks the tradition and turns it up a level by staging a seemingly too realistic and dramatic kidnapping/crime mystery. What ensues is a comical and ridiculous misadventure to recover Brooks and the reason he was abducted in the first place.

The tone of the movie is never too heavy, even the more serious bits, owing to the witty and fast-paced dialogue. When Max is shot and has to get the bullet removed by his wife, the dialogue between them never lets you get too emotionally involved with the violence or gore on screen. This curated dialogue paired with the surroundings as props for the physical comedy aspect is not overdone, as in many movies, just for the laugh. The recurring joke of ‘glass tables are acting weird, tonight’ highlight the show’s knack to not take itself serious as a thriller/comedy, while showing the maturity of the plot to not rely wholly on physical comedy but also on circumstantial props, dialogue and well-developed characters.

a comical and ridiculous misadventure

The duo of Bateman and McAdams is wonderful as they bounce-off each other. The storyline includes wit, backstories and subplots for its supporting roles – so they aren’t punching bags for the comic violence of the movie. Kevin is stuck on finding out who his wife slept with when their relationship was on hiatus. Ryan, the wildcard of the group, finds himself smitten with the idea of his brainy “Briitsh” (actually Irish) date, Sarah and the neighbor, who wants nothing more than to be part of their weekly game night ritual.


The movie is a wild ride with some predictable twists and turns, but the clever dialogue and amusing misadventure of a group of friends seemingly unaware of the dangers of the game makes it a pleasure to see.

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