Clever twists and excellent acting make “Game Night” one of the best films of 2018

 This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Billy Magnussen, left, and Jason Bateman in a scene from "Game Night." (Hopper Stone/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Billy Magnussen, left, and Jason Bateman in a scene from "Game Night." (Hopper Stone/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

The all-star cast of 2018’s newest laugh-out-loud comedy “Game Night” deliver scads of hilarious gags and punchlines that are perfectly woven into an action-packed storyline.

The film, which is in theaters now, stars Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams as Max and Annie, a couple who are ultra-competitive board game enthusiasts. The stakes of the couple’s weekly game night with friends are kicked up a notch when Max’s more attractive and successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) wants to get involved in the fun. Brooks offers to host this week’s game night, which involves an interactive crime-solving puzzle and his Corvette Sting Ray as the grand prize. When the guests arrive, teammates Max and Annie are joined by longtime couple Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) and newly dating Ryan and Sarah (Billy Magnussen and Sharon Horgan).

As Brooks gets assaulted and kidnapped by men in ski-masks, which the guests believe is part of the elaborate game, the three couples take unique approaches to solving the mystery. Slowly the guests begin to realize that the situation is not fake and Brooks has become involved with some dangerous and deadly criminals. The story continues to take twists and turns as the game night turns into a game of cat and mouse between the group of couples and the menacing criminals known as “The Bulgarian” and “Marlon Freeman.”

“Game Night” has been doing exceptionally well with critics and audiences alike who find the comedic chemistry between Bateman and McAdams to be outstanding. The duo seemed to play off of each other extremely effectively, delivering quick and witty lines throughout the film. McAdams in particular had a brilliant performance in her role as Annie, leaving audiences wishing she took more roles in comedies. Since the 2004 smash hit “Mean Girls,” the actress has strayed more toward roles in romantic dramas such as “The Notebook” and “Southpaw.” “Game Night,” however, is a nice reminder that the actress has astounding and clever comedic timing.

Bateman, as well as the rest of the cast, also deliver stellar performances in their respective roles. The characters were all able to be remarkably funny without feeling the need to be overbearing or force any of the jokes. One actor that particularly stood out was Jesse Plemons in his role as awkward and offbeat neighbor Gary. Gary, a police officer who has been uninvited from the weekly game nights since the divorce of his wife Debbie, is involved in some of the funniest scenes throughout the movie.

Another area in which this movie excels is through its writing, done by Mark Perez, which takes the audience through countless unexpected twists and turns before finally arriving at a conclusion. The film did not have to resort to raunchy or distasteful jokes to get laugh-out-loud reactions from an adult audience. The jokes were written well and incorporated perfectly into the script. The R rating of the film made the action sequences more unexpected and thrilling as gore and violence were utilized. This steadily built the tension throughout the film, so it did not have to solely rely on its humor. Overall, Perez’s screenplay gives the audience plenty of satisfying twists and room for hilarious dialogue between the characters.

Ultimately, the outstanding performance by the cast and the unexpected twists incorporated through Perez’s screenwriting make this film a huge success.  If you’re someone who enjoys a perfect blend between a comedy and an action-thriller, “Game Night” is definitely a movie worth checking out.


Matthew Souvigney is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at matthew.souvigney@uconn.edu.