Courtesy of New Line Cinema
The laughs come steady and fast in “Game Night” a new studio comedy from John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (the brain trust behind the awful “Vacation” remake). Hardly ever does the movie falter as it introduces us to Max and Annie (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams having a blast) a rival pair at first, but they share a bond over the thrill of wiping the floor with the competition at their weekly hosted game night. It’s refreshing to see characters in a studio comedy that don’t bicker. Among their guests are lifelong friends Kevin (“New Girls” Lamorne Morris) his wife Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), and Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who consistently dates Instagram models that are substantially ditzy and fairly younger than him.
Their normal routine gets shaken up when Max’s more successful older brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) comes into the picture offering a new type of experience. A game night that elevates to the next level, a kidnapping that’s supposed to be “staged” and the winner receives a lavish prize. Except, in a fun turn of events, Brooks actually gets kidnapped (“what are the odds?” he says) but the situational humor plays exceptionally and the main cast finds themselves in some hilarious scenarios. McAdams and Bateman totally own a scene trying to remove a bullet from Max’s arm that has a terrific pay off. They also have a run in with their creepy next door neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons in the movies laugh out loud, scene stealing, performance).
Their are other running gags and underground fight clubs in the span of “Game Night’s” quick pacing, despite some of the plotting getting a tad messy, and tangled up within itself - Daley and Goldstein do a fine job keeping things on track (mostly) by the end. This is a solid option for those searching for a genuine comedy this season, you might feel a little played when it’s over, but you won't hate yourself for buying into this premise.