Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie's (Rachel McAdams) weekly game night is a staple part of their week, not just for them but their circle of friends. When Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) takes over and arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and federal agents, things take the most unexpected of turns. Brooks gets kidnapped, but that's all just part of the game right? As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.
There is enough talent within Game Night to provide laughs, Bateman and McAdams for starters are solid comedic leads and the cavalcade of characters around them has sufficient talent as well. Lamorne Norris, Sharon Horgan and Chelsea Peretti have all had me rolling with laughter in the past, it was somewhat sadly surprising to find that Game Night did nothing for me.
One of the major problems was the Bateman and McAdams relationship which I found to be tiresome, this hyper competitive couple who fall in love over a Teletubbies quiz question were at times frankly unlikeable. Their exclusion of neighbour Gary (Jesse Plemons) making them really hard to take as the 'heroes' of our adventure. Plemons does play the oddball neighbour wonderfully but their treatment of him flies in the face of the film's efforts to have us root for them. The Game Night gang they surround themselves have little real purpose other than find themselves in contrived situations, presumably to pad out time and script pages. Worst affected by this are Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) who's journey into whether or not she was unfaithful with a celebrity is so unnecessary and frankly uninteresting they may as well not be there!
A range of references from years gone by including Pulp Fiction and Fight Club (leading to a pay off you can see coming a mile away) felt a little out of time and fell flat making the short run time of 100 minutes, at times, insufferably long!
There were others in my screening who seemed to be enjoying themselves and laughed along in all the right places, I however left Game Night with no desire to return. Two parts of this Game Night were absent for me laughter and heart.
Game Night is in cinemas now