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Game Night takes a fresh approach to common plot

“Game Night” is a dark comedy heavy on laughs and plot. It also scores points for originality executing its premise that could’ve gone off the rails, but chooses a clever approach to the material.

Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star as a married couple who host weekly game nights with friends, much to the chagrin of a neighbor cop (Jesse Plemons) who seems a few fries short of Happy Meal. They invite two other couples, until Bateman’s character reveals his more successful brother (Kyle Chandler) is in town.

Chandler’s character arranges for a murder mystery for game night. Plans go awry when two real kidnappers show up at his door, beat and then kidnap him. Meanwhile, the couples all think it is part of the game.

The movie produces some wildly entertaining sequences, including one when Bateman and McAdams track Chandler to a bar, still believing it’s part of the mystery only to find out the kidnappers’ motivation. Another entertaining scene involves breaking into a mansion and stealing a Faberge egg, while an underground fight club takes place. “Fight Club” is just one of many movie references made and nearly all of them work.

“Game Night” loses a bit of its originality during the climax mainly because it is overstuffed, but even the end provides solid laughs. Much of the credit goes to screenwriter Mark Perez and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein of “Horrible Bosses” or delivering a fun and outrageous script and the cast turns out a smart, hilarious take.

It’s much more witty and clever that it should have any right to be and given the choice between having a real game night or going to see this, I actually would choose the latter.
Grade: A-
Rated R for language, sexual references, and some violence.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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