The film begins with a quiz in a bar where Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) experience love at first sight. They were brought together by the mutual spirit of competition, they use every possible opportunity to compete in something, and they organize game nights with their friends, in which they compete in various board games. An idyllic marriage is spoiled by the fact that they can’t have a baby, and the reason for that is Max, whose constant tension due to games affects fertility. The situation is further complicated by the sudden visit of his brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler), who developed his competitive spirit and because of which Max has a pronounced lower value complex…
Annie believes that Brooks is directly to blame for Max’s accumulated stress and is of the opinion that his defeat in a social game, for the first time in his life, would have an extremely favorable effect on Max. In addition to their situation, we indirectly follow the subplots of their play friends – Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), who have been together since high school, Ryan (Billy Magnussen), who regularly changes girls who look like each other and not they can boast of intelligence, Sarah (Sharon Horgan), Ryan’s new partner, who does not fit into the mold of his chosen ones, and Gary (Jesse Plemons), a creepy neighbor of a police officer when they avoid him in all possible ways.
The story revolves around a game chosen by Brooks for his game night – a fake kidnapping. As you probably thought, this type of game can go wrong at any time, and in this case it happened before it started. Also, one might think that this situation presupposes a straightforward development of the story with some landing and blindness, but that is not the case in the movie Game Nights. The story is just the basis for (un) expected twists and numerous hilarious situations in which our heroes fall, accompanied by their spontaneous or improvised comedy.
The crew from the film consciously or unconsciously enters dangerous adventures and, as expected, makes numerous mistakes in the process. They are in a thriller, but the main component of humor is the fact that they either do not know or are not prepared at all for everything that implies the seriousness of the situation in which they found themselves. In such circumstances, they cannot be reliable in anything, and a complete puzzle is more important than the logic behind it. Because of that, we watch a few scenes that are done too casually, but the dose of comedy in them practically conditions us not to take it as a minus.
The most important quality of the game Game Nights is reflected in the fact that the authors masterfully make a contrast between the situation and the characters, which is a great background for many comic sequences. Each of the characters brings their own variant of humor to the script, and it is certainly interesting to watch funny people when they are in the world of deep shadows characteristic of thrillers. The screenwriter obviously had a great time and had no problem relatively exaggerating with the scenes of black humor (the scene with the neighbor’s dog), which are the best at the very end, but also a bit grotesque (subjectively the strongest scene with taking out bullets with store-bought accessories).
Each of the actors contributed to the entire film. Jason Bateman has had several attempts to understand him as a serious character actor (Ozark), but the fact is that comedies suit him best, primarily because he looks typical of a man who at no point knows what happened to him. Next to him, I will mention Rachel McAdams, who brings the necessary dose of cuteness in the chaos that befell them, as well as Jesse Plemons, an actor whom I pretty much like, who is hilarious here in the role of a creepy neighbor of a policeman.