Another underappreciated movie so far this year.
"Game Night" has Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams playing game-loving married couple Max and Annie. They organize another night of Charades, and Pictionary, and Trivial and/or really just any game that would feed their, let's make it clear, unhealthy, competitive side.
A comedy can only work if the on-screen actors share a talented knack for comedic timing and chemistry. That happens here with McAdams and Bateman, an unlikely comedy dream team that carries "Game Night" into glory. The supporting cast is great as well; Billy Magnussen as Ryan is hilarious, bringing his, always-changing, new fling to game night, this time it's Sarah (Sharon Horgan). Whereas Kevin and Michelle, the other married couple, played by Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunburry, are riotous fun, especially when Kevin learns that Michelle might have cheated on him with a celebrity during a brief breakup. Kevin suspects it's Denzel Washington and is relentless in trying to get a name out of her.
Kyle Chandler plays Brooks, Bateman's more-successful-at-life brother, who invites the gang to his high-end house to play an nameless mystery game; The rules are simple, one of the contestants will be taken by mobsters, paid actors, and the rest will have to follow clues to save the hostages. Problem is, by sheer coincidence of course, actual mobsters (Danny Huston and Michael C. Hall) do show up at Kyle's and take him with them. That's when the movie really hits its stride, as we start to play the game ourselves, trying to figure out what's real and what isn't.
Car chases, bar fights and guns do show up in some rather compulsively watchable action sequences, all staged by director's John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. However, it's Gary (a scene-stealing Jesse Plemons), Max and Annie's socially-awkward, divorced cop neighbor, who they always try to avoid inviting to game night, that is the comic peak of the movie. Plemons' creepy performance is filled with sad-puppy eyes moments where you truly feel for him, but other moments where he's damn-near creepy.
A personal highlight for me is the scene where Plemons suspects three bags of Tostitos in Max and Annie's shopping bags might mean they're having guests over for game night. Their response? There was a 3-for-1 sale, to which Gary replies: "How would that be good for the Frito-Lay company?" Awesome. [B+]
"Game Night" is now available on DVD and 4K Blu-Ray.