This past weekend included the decision to rent Game Night on Netflix. When the movie arrived in theaters earlier this year, I didn’t give it any thought. Even though it starred some of my favorite people it seemed like something more worthy of a weekend rental. A Friday night parked on the couch with popcorn and blanket. Turns out, my assumptions were wrong, and I was pleasantly surprised.
In a nutshell, Max and Annie are a couple who love attending and hosting Game Nights. Nights which we see from the opening created and forged their relationship, complete with Max’s charades proposal. But time has passed and now Annie wants them to grow up and start a family. Something she fears Max doesn’t want as it will put their adventures to an end. Adventures which are about to include theft, kidnapping, and murder. (Incidentally, none of which will seem to shock anyone much.) This set up sounds typical. Except in Game Night, Annie’s desire is more of a backdrop to the hijinx that will ensue. When Max’s successful, gorgeous brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) shows up, he offers everyone a more exciting game in the form of a murder mystery party. When Brooks gets kidnapped during the party, the line between reality and game becomes confusingly blurred. Max, Annie, and their friends find themselves in an all night race to solve the mystery, and uncover what’s really true.
There are more plot holes than a pound of swiss cheese, and most (not all) of the twists are generally predictable. But, (as is the case sometimes), it doesn’t matter. Game Night is a somewhat cliched caper, but it also succeeds in areas you might not expect. It’s a movie reminiscent of a summer run that should’ve had more exposure than the quick release it was given. A reason that the ability to rent Game Night now will likely produce a greater audience, and greater, long lasting appeal on the small screen.
So why should you rent Game Night for your next movie night at home?
The main reason; it’s fun. Don’t pay too much attention to storyline or what’s plausible. Instead, try to keep up with the fast paced banter and endless cultural references. And enjoy the action which is mostly non stop from start to finish. In case you overlooked Game Night in theaters (like me), or have it nowhere near your radar, here are a few more reasons to rent Game Night this summer.
1. Jason Bateman at his snarkiest. Although many might not love Bateman right now, his charm is undeniable. Yet, its in many of his slightly darker roles (Juno, Ozark), that we really see his talent. Here, we get the best of both Batemans. The funny, charming guy with the dry wit, and the slightly darker persona. Also, I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great couple Bateman and McAdams could be in real life.
2. A standout role from Jesse Plemons. Plemons continues to establish himself as an important actor of his generation. He’s typically known for serious, stoic roles. In Game Night that stoic-ness, accentuated by his comedic skills and timing essentially steals the show.
3. One “Killer” scene. Ominous themes considered serious and dramatic in any other movie are played to humorous effect here. Including underground fight clubs, getting shot, and one scene that is surprising and especially effective, (even if slightly mis-matched with the rest of the movie). And even though serious, it also manages to be funny.
4. Endless pop culture references. Mark Perez’s script is riddled with non stop pop culture references. And for those who pride themselves on being movie buffs or culture gurus, showing off that knowledge is a prime reason to rent Game Night. The film’s seriously fast paced dialogue includes every reference you can imagine, many geared towards Gen X’ers. Everything from Ed Norton in the infamous Hulk movie, to the Sixth Sense, Eyes Wide Shut, and Fight Club.
5. Supporting spotlights. After seeing Ingrid goes West earlier this year, (a film I highly recommend), I couldn’t help but notice supporting actor, Billy Magnussen. In Game Night, he once again aces the part, establishing his ability to play crazy, maniacal, and dumb to charming perfection. His chemistry with sharp Sharon Horgan is a quieter, sub story and yet I found myself caring about their relationship the most at times. This ability seems like a precursor to a very successful career. It’s also a big reason to rent Game Night this summer.
Rent Game Night on DVD Netflix
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