Updated: Nov 14, 2018
Streaming on HBO
Metadata: 2018 | R | 1h 41m
Why I watched: I logged onto HBO yesterday to see whatthe weekly movie was, and when I saw it was Game Night, I immediately pressed play. None of my usual endless dithering. I knew it was the right one because it just felt right, you know? Sometimes you just know.
You might also like: The first two episodes of Season 44 of SNL have been soooo good. That cold open from Episode 1, with Matt Damon playing Brett Kavanaugh? Priceless. Awkwafina hosting Episode 2? Historic. Highly recommend both! Streaming on Hulu.
We've recommended some intense stuff lately, so now it's time for something light and funny! Game Night, despite the R rating, fits the bill. There are some crude jokes and a bit of theatrical violence, but this movie is really pretty delightful and totally easy to watch. Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman star as a married couple, Annie and Max, who first bonded over their intensity and skill when it comes to playing games. Every milestone they experience as a couple has involved a game: they first meet during a game of trivia, Max proposes to Annie during a game of charades, etc. The centerpiece of their social life is a weekly game night with friends. The three regulars are high school sweethearts Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and perpetually single guy Ryan (Billy Magnussen), who brings a different date to game night every week. Ryan's spectacular losing streak becomes a running joke in the friend group: his partner of the week is always too busy taking selfies to be helpful, or, God forbid, doesn't know that you can't use proper nouns in Scrabble.
It just so happens that the night Ryan decides to prove his friends wrong by bringing a "ringer"—an older, smarter, more successful woman—to game night, is the same night that Max's brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) hosts game night at his house for the first time. He's planned an interactive kidnapping simulation game for his friends, but things go horribly, splendidly wrong when real kidnappers show up and crash the party. The three couples—thinking the real kidnapping is the fake one—compete to rescue Brooks, making this game night particularly memorable. While attempting to outsmart gun-toting bad guys, the friends are all working through personal problems, like trouble conceiving and sibling rivalry. The juxtaposition of an outlandish action narrative and uber-normal couple problems is hardly original (remember Steve Carell's and Tina Fey's Date Night?), but it's still a ton of fun.
I wanted to see Game Night in theaters earlier this year, but with so many excellent movies out in 2018, it just didn't quite make the cut. (Despite solid reviews by critics and nearly an 80% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes (not bad), the movie only did so-so in theaters.) But in my book, it's the perfect choice for a movie night at home. Laugh out loud funny, sweet enough to make you tear up a little, and filled with action, Game Nightis a real winner.
Happy Streaming! Grace