One of the problems of modern comedies is they feel heavily improvised. Improvisation can be a great tool and it has produced movie magic in some films. But all too often, today’s comedies feel like actors were placed in front of a camera and told: “be funny.” The result ends up a series of agonizing riffs that often ramble past the two-hour mark. So it’s pretty refreshing that the new comedy Game Night features a well-plotted script and runs at a tight 101 minutes (including end credits).
Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams play a married couple who host a weekly game night. Bateman’s successful but patronizing brother (Kyle Chandler) moves back into town and takes over the game night. He sells it as a murder mystery game, but things take a dark turn when he appears to be kidnapped for real.
The movie owes its success to the better-than-usual plotting and its cast. Bateman and McAdams are charming as the central couple. Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, and Kylie Bunbury also get laughs as the other couples. However, Jesse Plemons steals the show as a sour-faced cop neighbor of Bateman and McAdams.
Game Night is the type of crowd-pleasing comedy Hollywood should be making.