Monday, March 26, 2018

Game Night (2018)

Some people long for adventure while others seem content to fall into a rut.  Max and Annie both have a love of games.  They met while competing.  Eventually, they married and now host game night for their friends.   Kevin and Michelle are also husband and wife.  Then, there’s Ryan, who’s a little on the slow side.  He seems to have a revolving door in terms of his dates.  For the duration of the movie, Ryan’s date is Sarah, a woman way better than he deserves.

The main story begins when Max’s brother, Books, comes back to town for a while .  Brooks has always been more successful than Max at pretty much everything.  Max tries not to let it show, but Brooks knows which buttons to push.  For instance, Brooks comes through the front door when Max and Annie had specifically asked everyone to come in more discretely.  The idea was to not attract the attention of their neighbor, Gary.  You see, Gary’s the annoying neighbor everyone else is trying to avoid.

One week, Brooks decides to put on a special game night.  He’s hired a company that specializes in faking a kidnapping and having the group of friends follow clues to find the faux victim.  If you’ve seen the coming attractions, you may remember that Brooks is actually kidnapped while the would-be players watch in amusement.  When the actual actors show up, the hunt is on to get Brooks back.

I once heard a good definition for what separates a comedy from a drama:  In a comedy, no one dies.  While this isn’t always true, it does serve as a good rule of thumb.  When Max gets shot, it doesn’t seem to slow him down much.  He and Amy stop to tend to it, but it would ultimately seem to be a minor inconvenience.  I would imagine that most people would have died in that situation, or at least have been lightheaded.

The movie is somewhere between The Game and Clue.  On the one hand, it has several layers of what might be real or fake.  The audience knows that Brooks is actually being kidnapped, but we don’t know why or by whom.  There are several reveals along the way, such as what Brooks did that might warrant such attention.  (Minor spoiler alert:  Not everyone is what they seem.)

This is one case where I’d say that the trailer was pretty accurate in terms of giving a good impression of what the movie is about.  It’s not a question of if something will go wrong.  It’s a question of when and how.  This can be difficult to pull off, but it works here.  The situations aren’t over the top.  Well, maybe the scene where they steal the Faberge egg was over the top.  But most of the scenes are more moderate.

IMDb page

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