This is pretty much a standard “big misunderstanding” comedy. Max and Annie (Justin Bateman and the ever boner inducing Rachel McAdams) host weekly game nights, where the couples they are friends with (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury as Kevin and Michelle; Billy Magnusson and as Ryan and Sharon Horgan as Sarah) play the classics – Pictionary, Risk, Clue, charades, trivia and so on.
On one fateful night, Max’s brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler) joins in on the fun. Max feels threatened as Brooks has always been more confident, charming and successful than he could hope to be.
Always the over achiever, Max kicks game night up a notch. He hires a murder mystery acting troupe to stage a fake kidnapping – a caper that the game night posse will have to solve.
Naturally…dun dun dun…a real kidnapping occurs before the fake kidnappers arrive and the gang will have to bungle their way through the movie, thinking that everything and everyone they encounter next is one great, big elaborate joke even though they are all in extreme danger.
Bateman and McAdams are well-preserved, convincing me they are a young couple trying to have a baby even though the expiration date sticker on that proverbial milk carton – if it hasn’t fallen off yet, is definitely starting to peel. McAdams remains one of my favorite, all-time actress crushes and if she ever wants to marry the owner of a blog that is only read by 3.5 readers she should have her people contact my people.
Morris and Bunbury are a cute young African American couple, attempting to navigate through the mystery gone bad while having an ongoing argument (early on it is revealed Bunbury’s character once slept with a celebrity and Morris is beside himself over this.)
As for Magnusson and Horgan…the joke here is that Magnusson is a wayward, studly womanizer who just runs through women like water, bringing another ditzy bimbo to game night every week. On this particular game night, he brings a higher quality, more intelligent woman and we wonder if this means Ryan will get over his pervy ways to grab a winner…and sadly, SPOILER ALERT…we are left to wonder as this part of the plot is left to flap in the breeze.
Meanwhile, Jesse Plemons banks on the creepiness he displayed in “Breaking Bad,” here as a creepy neighbor who has been ex-communicated from game night, but it makes him very displeased, as he wants back in.
STATUS: Shelf-worthy. We’re in a time period where comedy is dying, but Hollywood made a pretty standard fun time here. It’s not a gutbuster, but there are a few good laughable moments. It’s a good time, there is some good action and there is a pretty awesome scene where the gang runs around the mansion trying to outrun baddies while catching a MacGuffin and it appears from my untrained eye that it was all filmed in one take – impressive given all the moving parts in the scene. Worth a rental.