Annie (Rachel McAdams) and Max (Jason Bateman) originally met in a bar during a competitive night of drinks and games. Heck their whole lives centered on game night with friends even their wedding had games. They live in a nice home located on a cul-de-sac next to their recently divorced neighbor police officer Gary (Jesse Plemons) and his dog Sebastian. Ever since Gary got divorced from Debbie, Annie and Max have done everything possible to avoid inviting him to game night. Why? Well he’s a bit strange and never does well in the game arena, think sloth!
Any way when Max decides to invite his friends, Ryan (Billy Magnussen), his current flavor of the day Madison (Natasha Hall), Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), her partner Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and last but far from least his brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who is in town visiting everything gets exposed that game night is on and once again Gary is not invited. Max and Brooks were always competitive growing up and apparently still are so when Brooks shows up in a 1976 red stingray the car of Max’s dreams more gets played than just game night.
One week later, Brooks decides to host game night at his rental house, a beautiful gigantic home that once again is thrown in Max’s face. No board games this time but rather Brooks hired a company called Murder We Wrote to mix things up. One problem, well actually several, when the FBI comes in with files for all the players to find the one person that will be kidnapped everything goes insane. The thugs show up on cue but are they the actual actors? When Brooks is attacked and taken away Max and the others think it is all part of the game that Brooks set up. Grant it everything looked very authentic but the players were ready to play.
While all the players are in search of their prize they slowly begin to realize that this game is not actually a game but quite real especially when Max gets shot. Along their journey to find Brooks they encounter a Bulgarian egg, bloody dog, bloody Debbie, a fight club, government secrets, secrets about Brooks, truths, lies, criminals, actors, car chases and of course guns. In the end about three months later game night is once again on with a bun in the oven and thirty six months of house arrest.
I found that the direction is pretty well done but as for the writing although it has some good twists most of the story seemed a bit too forced leaving the actors in a great cast to try their best to make it comedy. I found myself laughing of course and I did enjoy the film but I felt that a bit more character development of the main characters would have helped the cause here making this film more inviting and hysterical for the audience. People in the audience were laughing but not as much as I thought they would have been doing especially since the cast is worthy of a good box office.
There are some good supporting characters to move the story along but again I believe it was more of a writing issue than an acting issue that hurts the film a bit. I am a fan of Bateman and especially McAdams but their relationship seemed a bit off course at times, again the writing. Magnussen is the typical surfer dude type always dating great looking women but a bit dumb as a box of rocks except for Sarah (Sharon Horgan) she had intelligence and an accent and became part of the major six leads. Morris and Bunbury played well together but their mystery celebrity conversation may have played a bit too long. Chandler takes his turn in comedy with a mixture of drama and crime surrounding his character and he does quite well. Besides some small roles played by some familiar actors, Plemons plays the scary cop next door neighbor quite well right up to the end. No animals were harmed in this film but Sebastian did happen to get a bit of a dye job at some point. Overall I enjoyed the film but sometimes a bit less is more if you know what I mean.