Action-comedy Game Night delivers laughs and thrills

Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman star in Game Night.
Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman star in Game Night.

Game Night follows the trend of familiar action-comedies released in the first few months of the year. 

They all deliver cheap thrills, create a few laughs and give most of their budgets to the actors. 

Indeed, many of these give A-listers a break from flexing their acting muscles in more Oscar-calibre fare. 

Game Night sees loving couple Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) struggling to conceive. 

Making matters worse, Max’s wealthy, obnoxious brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) swoops back into their lives. 

Hijacking Max and Annie’s couples’ night tradition, Brooks promises them and their friends – Ryan (Billy Magnussen), Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) – a new-and-improved game night. 

Of course, mass hysteria and crazy hijinks ensue.

Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have been involved in some great movies (Spider-Man: Homecoming) and some not-so-great ones (The Vacation reboot). 

Riffing on 1997 David Fincher-directed thriller The Game, their latest delivers a non-stop ride with unique moments sprinkled in. 

The directors leave light-heartedness at the door, instead adopting a more sinister tone. 

After Brooks is kidnapped, their movie really kicks into high gear. 

The laughs build as each character steadily deciphers what’s real and what isn’t. 

Beyond the out-there character types and thrilling set-pieces, the directors also tear suburban bliss apart. 

The pair bring a cinematic quality to Game Night, delivering tighter gun-fights and car chases than anticipated. 

Although Max and Annie’s conflict works, the other characters are given only one or two character traits each. 

Fortunately, scene-stealing turns from Jessie Plemons and Jeffrey Wright steer the movie back into bizarro territory. 

Delivering spades of kookiness and swagger, Game Night’s cast and crew make the experience worth participating in.