Raising the Stakes: Game Night

Updated on March 19, 2018


Game Night is a comedy about two people who are ultra-competitive at every game they play. In fact, Max (Jason Bateman) and his wife Annie (Rachel McAdams) first met as players on opposing teams during a bar game event. Once they dumped their partners, they became a dynamic duo of their own. When they married and bought a home, they continued their passion under their own roof. Their closest friends and competitors include Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and his wife Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) and Ryan (Billy Magnusson), who usually has a different partner every time he participates. Max and Annie's next door neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons) used to be a part of these nights until his wife left him. He continues to ask Max and Annie what they're doing when they have company, and they make an excuse to exclude him.

One day, Max's older brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), comes to visit. A successful businessman, Brooks brings a big game to game night - and even hosts it at his house. He's arranged for a murder mystery to be staged, with one of them to be cast as the victim. The prize for winning is the classic Corvette Brooks drives. It turns out that masked intruders enter and take Brooks. The teams follow the kidnappers, who aren't happy about the pursuit. Other twists that follow include the players coming into contact with Donald Anderton (Danny Huston), a businessman whose pursuits aren't all legitimate, and a man known only as The Belgian (Michael C. Hall), a wanted international criminal. These encounters further cloud the ultimate intention of this competition.


Game Night is a fun, but situation-driven, comedy from the directing team of John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein, who made their directorial debut with the awful continuation of the Vacation movie franchise featuring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. In Game Night, the teams make their usual attempts to outsmart one another - as well as dethrone Max and Annie. Ryan, for example, tries to win by bringing a smarter, but older, partner in Sarah (Sharon Horgan), who brings more smarts than he or his other partners have had. They all come to realize that Brooks is right - this is not the game he arranged, but they're willing to forget one whodunnit for another. The twists the movie takes are clever, and will leave viewers guessing what's supposed to be happening. The violence toward the end somewhat upsets the tone of the film, and it has more than a few gaps in logic. Still, the players enjoy this diversion from their usual contests - and that's what matters most here.

The key players in this cast deliver on the spirit of the game - especially Bateman, McAdams, Chandler, and Plemons. Bateman thinks himself the hot shot as Max - and in competition, he is. However, before the game even starts, Brooks rattles Max with stories of Max's awkward adolescence. Annie even brings up some personal details, and that further fuels Max's desire to come out on top - even as he deals with a wound that leaves a mess wherever he goes. McAdams has a wide-eyed and excited look as Annie, even when her own excitement gets out of hand. After seeing Annie handle a loaded gun, everybody should hope she's never near one again. Chandler shows off his comic skill as Brooks as he teases Max, and has a look of terror when he can't convince anybody he's in real danger. Plemons is emotionless as Gary, who never stops wearing his police uniform, as if he were investigating Max and Annie with his every waking moment. He also seems to have access to a police cruiser at all hours, as he demonstrates at one phase of the game. Jeffrey Wright has a cameo as one of the people involved in Brooks's game, and Chelsea Peretti has one of the funniest moments as a game creator who happily takes a bribe from one of the couples to spoil the finish.


Game Night takes friendly rivalry to the extreme - and the players happily go because of the stakes. Even when the game goes off script, they don't care. They think they're ready for the challenge. A challenge is what they get, especially in its dangerous moments. This film makes me wonder if these people are just as driven at work, or if they save all their energy for their time together.

On a scale of zero to four stars, I give Game Night three stars. The competition hits a new level.

Game Night trailer


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)