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8 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Game Night

www.telegraph.co.uk
Game Night

It feels like a long time since we saw a mainstream Hollywood comedy that actually worked – a glossy production with a consistently funny story that builds from a relatable beginning to a pleasantly absurd conclusion. But this silly effort, like a comic spin on David Fincher’s The Game, delivers all the undemanding laughs you could wish, and has such a plot of such baroque intricacy that it even manages a few genuine shocks.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are a wildly competitive couple who hold a regular game night with the blissfully wed Kevin (Lamorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury), and the nice-but-dim Ryan (Billy Magnussen), who can generally be relied upon to bring an even dimmer date.

But the gang get more than they bargained for when they allow Max’s more successful brother Brook (Kyle Chandler) to host one week’s get-together. Brook announces that, instead of the usual board games and trivia quizzes, the gang will be taking part in a live-action role-play. Someone will be kidnapped and the rest will have to decipher clues to rescue their friend and win the game. Just one problem: things get real awfully fast.

It would do you a disservice to say much about the plot beyond that point, but suffice to say that the fake kidnapping turns out to be real, and that things snowball from there. If this were a game of Cluedo, it would be as if Colonel Mustard and Miss Scarlett both planned to do it, but it was in fact Professor Plum and the library was actually a drawing room.

It’s best not to look too closely at the details anyway; it will just give you a headache and the “why” hardly matters, only the “what next”.

Bateman and McAdams manage to be dead-set on winning but not entirely unsympathetic thanks to their peppy enthusiasm and mutual devotion; their really ruthless streak is largely confined to the opening montage.

The three couples spend much of the running time apart, off in pursuit of clues, with Kevin and Michelle realising that their perfect marriage may have a few dark spots and Ryan’s companion, Sarah (Sharon Horgan) learning to her disgust that what she thought was a date was in fact a cold-blooded attempt by him to bring in a smarter team-mate for once. But the film’s at its best when all six gamers are together and their comedy styles are clicking nicely.

It’s a balance rounded out nicely by Jesse Plemons’s fantastically creepy neighbour Gary, but what’s really impressive is how directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein keep the pace up and the gags coming.

The set-pieces are quick, light and for the most part fun. What Game Night lacks in (any) plausibility or coherence it makes up for a, pleasingly brainless entertainment.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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