Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a perfectly happy couple, enjoying their weekly game nights with their circle of regular friends. But when Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up, the balance is off. Always competitive with Brooks, Max has always had a bit of a kid brother complex to his hotter, more successful brother who always succeeds in knocking him down a notch, even in front of his friends.
Of course Brooks proposes the best game night ever: a murder mystery where someone is realistically kidnapped from the party. It all seems to go as planned when kidnappers kick in the door, toss Brooks around, tape his mouth shut, and haul him out, much to the delight of the others who barely pause eating snacks and drinking their drinks while watching the show. Heck, it looks so real, that maybe it WAS real, and Brooks was actually kidnapped! Naw...
The hijinks have the party guests--including jealously bickering couple (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury), dim bulb (Billy Magnussen) with his smarter-than-usual (for him) date (Sharon Horgan)--traipsing across town, trying to solve the puzzle. Meanwhile, there are maybe real gangsters, maybe real beatings, and one very real bullet wound. The cast is totally game for Game Night, bringing some good laughs. There is even a little white dog who gets one of the funniest, awkwardly "ew" scenes.
Under more sure-handed directors, some of Game Night could have certainly been more howlingly funny, but I feel like John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (who also wrote the screenplay together), are becoming a stronger force in comedy. Heck, I was apparently the only one who enjoyed their revisit of National Lampoon's Vacation. This time around, the whole audience certainly was having a good time. And while you probably won't think about it later, Game Night is one of those comedies that plays best with a crowd, making it a fun rainy (or snowy) day matinee.