A weekly game night hosted by couple Max and Annie (Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams) is taken over by Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) who arrives in town and decides to kick things up a notch with an elaborate kidnapping game. However, things aren't quite as they seem and it proves to be a game night no one will be forgetting anytime soon.
There's a general theme in many American comedies of recent years of over-thirties struggling to settle down and accept that their lives are actually fairly ordinary after all. We're imagining the word 'relatable' is used a lot in the studio pitch. Usually it takes them on some screwball turbulent journey to get them to the necessary emotional maturity they need, be it a best friend getting married, a frat house moving in next door or a case of mistaken identity on a date.
The formula can be used badly but generally serves its purpose of entertaining folks with a couple of hours of fairly average cinema. Such is the case with Game Night but thankfully writer Mark Perez and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses, Spider-Man: Homecoming) are dab hands with comedy and do enough to make you forget that yes, you've seen this before, but you're having enough fun to not really care.
Coming in at 100 minutes, no time is wasted in getting the story underway and a quick romantic montage at the start informs us that our protagonists Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman are like that competitive couple in your group who you can't stand or well, have a game night with.
There's no surprises from Bateman or McAdams, we have seen them do comedy before and they clock in the standard performance you would expect from them both. That is not meant as a negative but just that you'll get what you hoped for if you're a fan of either. They are heavily propped up by their supporting cast, one of which includes our own Sharon Horgan, giving us Irish an representative that couldn't be further from the butt of the jokes with Horgan making the most of her time on screen delivering her wry one-liners as only she can.
Her partner-in-crime is Ryan (Billy Magnussen) who is that idiotic yet lovable friend who only dates Instagram models and brings Sarah (Horgan) along as a date to prove that he's not that idiotic yet lovable friend who only dates Instagram models. We don't really get much more depth from him beyond that but there's no need for that as Magnussen masters the role as the hapless fool all too well.
Kyle Chandler, New Girl's Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunburry make up the rest of the cast but it's Jesse Plemons that steals the show in his role as the eccentric police officer neighbour Gary. His flat delivery and subtle comedy presence prove that Plemons is one of the most versatile actors out there at the moment and while he steals every scene he isn't over-used.
Some jokes definitely do fall flat and Horgan is a card we would liked to have seen played more, but this crazy night of shenanigans escalates at just the right pace with a tight script that delivers enough laugh out loud moments to make this game night one you'll be glad you took part in.