D: John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein
Warner Bros/New Line/Access/Dune/Aggregate (John Davis, John Fox, James Garavante & Jason Bateman)
USA 🇺🇸 2018
W: Mark Perez
DP: Barry Peterson
Ed: Jamie Gross, Gregory Plotkin & David Egan
Mus: Cliff Martinez
Jason Bateman (Max Davis), Rachel McAdams (Annie Davis), Kyle Chandler (Brooks Davis), Jesse Plemons (Gary Kingsbury), Billy Magnusson (Ryan Huddle), Sharon Horgan (Sarah Darcy), Lamorne Morris (Kevin Sterling), Kylie Bunbury (Michelle Sterling)
David Fincher's 1997 film The Game (qv) is given a comedy makeover, a la Date Night for this rather predictable, not particularly funny timekiller.
Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams play idyllic suburban couple Max & Annie, who host weekly game nights. Max's successful brother Brooks attends one week and a sibling rivalry becomes apparent between the two. Brooks invites the group to his house for the next game night and they all accept.
On the evening, Brooks unveils the rules of the game - someone is going to be kidnapped and they will have to rescue them, on the way events will occur and the group will have no idea whether it's all part of the game or not. It's quite handy he got that last part in, as he is promptly kidnapped by bad guys and the evening gets underway. The "twist" is that it's a real kidnapping.
Though watchable and entertaining enough for its duration, the biggest problem of the film is that you can see the plot points and jokes coming from a mile off.
Rachel McAdams is delightfully kooky as the lead actress, but Jason Bateman can only play the same one-note character regardless of the movie, in which case he gets a bit lucky that it fits this one. The best performance of the movie belongs to Jesse Plemons as a creepy neighbour who gets expunged from the group of friends, it's the scenes featuring him which offer a couple of moments to raise a chuckle, but that's not really good enough for a comedy.
Unfortunately, Hollywood seems to be treading carefully with the genre nowadays because they don't want to offend people. Meh.
All in all, it's about as much fun as a game of Monopoly, and will probably culminate in less arguments.