"Game Night" is wickedly entertaining

Game Night isn't always fun and games

Game Night isn't always fun and games

Both are quality actors with many award-winning films under their belts - "Game Night" had the potential to be another.

A couple of days on from seeing Game Night, it's still making me laugh. So the more foolish and uncomfortable I'm acting, the more I'm proving that I have those traits inside of me! Ever since Plemons' turn as Todd in Breaking Bad, every time we see him in anything you mutter disgustedly under your breath "Todd".

Who delivered a standout performance and why?

Max is played by the affable Jason Bateman (Office Christmas Party). Game Night is no game-changer, but it makes the sordid and grim archives of the action-genre section so much brighter than they were before. Daley and Goldstein have clearly studied Lord and Miller and Wright, and even if their film isn't up to the gold standard that influenced them, it's still an absolute blast and a really fun night at the pictures. And if the results sometimes tip towards self-indulgence or self-parody, the movie is still far cleverer and more engaging than one had any right to expect. Game Night starts with the flashback meet-cute of Max and his now wife, Annie (Rachel McAdams, at her most charming).

There's no reason to rush out and see this in the theater. There's not a mean-spirited moment in the whole film, and Barry Peterson, the cinematographer who worked on the Jump Street movies, gives the action the same kind of kinetic, mischievous flair as those movies. Aside from Bateman and McAdams, "Game Night" featured other comedic actors on the rise such as Billy Magnussen ("The Big Short" and "Into the Woods") and Lamorne Morris (Winston Bishop in "New Girl").

The first 15 minutes are a bit slow in order to set up the movie's premise.

The movie stars Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Kyle Chandler, and is co-directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein.

They also have a very unusual next-door neighbor, Gary (Jesse Plemons), a police officer with light serial-killer vibes. Vaguely creepy, Gary continues to finagle an invite to game night but continues to be ignored. Like a murder-mystery-style game, except someone gets kidnapped instead of killed.

"Game Night" is a cute and amusing filler movie that provides chuckles and laughs from an incredibly wild-and-crazy evening of home game-playing.

There are gorgeous establishing shots throughout, using seamless CGI long shots to give certain settings the appearance of a game board or an illustration from a table-top game before panning in and matching to a crane shot. Don't worry. You're expected to be way ahead of the reveal. I thought that would be pretty relatable all over the world - the game night scenario may be specific, but the fish out of water aspect is always recognisable and fun. This very fine movie actor, the Felix Leiter to Daniel Craig's Bond, turns up uncredited in a minor role that is pure plot device, delivers some boring exposition dialogue, before being boffed on the head and forgotten about. If you are looking for a good laugh, this movie is ideal for you.

Semi-amusing studio comedies are now so rare that, when a properly funny one arrives, the temptation to have it stuffed and mounted feels overwhelming.

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