Plot: Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams) are both competitive people, the kind of couple that practices for game night and will do whatever it takes to defeat the other couples. But one area where Max falls short is against his own brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who has always managed to one up him, from the time they were kids. When Brooks arrives in town and flashes his new car, massive house, and extravagant lifestyle around, Max feels defeated, but he also sees a chance to finally get one over on his brother. Brooks has designed a special game night, a kind of murder mystery adventure and if Max can outwit his brother’s puzzles, he can finally have his sweet victory. But when real life interferes in the game night and the mystery turns out to be real, will Max, Annie, and their friends be able to realize the real danger in time or will this be the final game night?
Entertainment Value: The “gone wild” genre continues, this time with boring middle aged couples thrust into a night of adventure and danger, with promises of over the top moments and wild set pieces. I do think Game Night is a solid movie, as it offers a lot of laughs and some memorable moments, but it fails to make good on the insane promises made by the trailer. I think it makes more of an effort than most movies of this kind, as it at least dials up the scope and tries to add some unpredictable edge, but it winds up as a middle of the road comedy. If you advertise your movie with “the shit you won’t believe,” maybe you should include at least one moment that the audience can’t believe, instead of focusing on bland relationship issues. I mean, I wanted craziness here, not sibling jealousy and low sperm motility, but Game Night is set on pandering to bored couples when it should go for broke. The performances are fine, with Rachel McAdams really dialing up the charisma, while Jason Bateman gives his usual performance, but the real star here is Jesse Plemons. He shines in these eerie, creep roles and adds so much to Game Night, even in a less prominent part. I wish this was a truly insane, wild movie, but Game Night settles for some bad language and relationship tropes, though it is still a funny movie.
No nakedness. This is another “gone wild” movie that talks a big sleaze game, but relies on innuendos over actual sexual content. Unless you have a fetish for guys with low sperm motility due to sibling rivalry, then you’re in business. A little more blood than normal for the genre, with a nice gushy bullet wound visible often and a couple other minor instances of bloodshed. The bullet removal scene is a fun sequence and while the movie does give us a villain being sucked into the engine of a plane, it reels in what could have been a jaw dropping moment. But I appreciated the effort, as some bursts of blood and violence at least add a little edge here. The dialogue here is fun and has a good cadence, but when it turns from humor to relationship issues, the writing grinds to a halt and becomes bland. I think if a lot of the relationship issues were dropped, the movie would benefit, as those segments really drag down the movie. As for craziness, despite promises of insane, over the top experiences, Game Night is a typical couple’s movie that just ekes in a few wild moments. But at least a small effort was made to juice up the tone, even if it was a minor payout.
Overall Insanity: 3/10