Game Night (2018) — Jenga, charades, and fight clubs

“Man, glass tables are acting weird tonight.”

Justin’s rating: I don’t want to brag, but I always roll perfect Yahtzees

Justin’s review: Game Night was recommended to me more than once as an example of a good modern comedy classic, and hey, I’m down for any movie where Amy McAdams screams out Pulp Fiction lines and then follows that up with a yoga demonstration. Turns out that this was a solid recommendation after all, because it’s genuinely funny with plenty of pep and fun performances.

Max (Justin Bateman) and Annie (McAdams) are a competitive married couple who always host game night at their house with friends — that is, until one day Max’s more successful brother Brooks breezes into town and ropes them all into a live-action crime mystery game. Or is it a game at all?

After Brooks is abducted (in a truly amusing fight sequence during which everyone else is calmly eating cheese), the couples split up to follow clues and see who can locate him first.

Max and Annie have great chemistry and teamwork, but they’re struggling with an ongoing issue of not being able to conceive a child. Kevin (New Girl’s Lamome Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) find themselves embroiled in a fight when Michelle inadvertantly reveals she may have slept with a celeb back in the day. And general idiot Ryan (Billy Magnussen) brings along his co-worker Sarah (Sharon Horgan) to be a ringer for the game — a discovery that Sarah isn’t too happy to discover.

Eventually, the couples realize that this isn’t a game at all (or is it?). But by now, loads of crazy situations are cascading left and right, and it’s going to take every last shred of competitive energy to win this thing.

What makes Game Night a joy to watch is that each of the couples are genuinely funny on their own and in the whole ensemble. I wasn’t getting antsy when the action changed to any of them. But dang if Bateman and McAdams don’t absolutely slam it with their witty quotes and full-on physical comedy. The dark horse for the movie may be Sarah, though, who is gamely (har) putting up with her doofus date and proving that she’s more than capable to be a part of this group.

Even though this movie flirts with serious situations, it never has a problem taking a break to do some keepaway with bad guys or play Jenga with the most uptight police officer ever.

Face it, Game Night just won all the things. I’m fine with that.

Didja notice?

  • Can you identify all of the game pieces from the opening credits?
  • “You’re high-fiving Hitler?”
  • “How can that be profitable for Frito-Lay?”
  • Rich people apparently hold fight clubs on game nights
  • Maxi-Pad is a horrible nickname
  • The soundtrack is pretty peppy
  • Britain and Ireland are not the same covers
  • Eating cheese or getting your butt kicked?
  • “The first one who follows us gets shot.” “OK, drive safe!”
  • “Yes! You are so smart and unfaithful!”
  • Annie teaching the bad guys yoga
  • “Your tower’s not stable.” “I’m not stable!”
  • “I usually go out with men who I find interesting and non-stupid, so this is new for me too.”
  • Don’t touch a girl’s mouth unless you want to get bit
  • “What kind of party has a pregnant corpse?”
  • $10 is a horrible bribe. So is $15. And $16. And $17.
  • “The Bulgarian’s Egg? Wasn’t that the third Harry Potter book?”
  • Do you know a lot of mob doctors?
  • A squeaky toy for the pain.
  • “It’s a bullet, not a grapefruit!”
  • “You’re like a dolphin.”
  • Gary’s unamused wedding photo
  • Bleeding all over the dog
  • “It still sounds like a scary monster.”
  • Eyes Wide Fight Club
  • “I’m the CEO of cyberdyne systems.”
  • Turn on belt
  • “Right in my bullet hole!”
  • That’s the most insincere “oh no he died” ever

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