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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Hilarious Non-Stop Hijinks
by James Colt Harrison

At last! A hilarious comedy that comes as a wonderful antidote to winter weather has arrived on theatre screens. Game Night, a surprise hit with audiences, brings non-stop laughter to cheer us up.

Jason Bateman, a long-neglected leading man, shows his comedy chops to advantage here. He plays Max, Rachel McAdams’ husband, with a goofy sense of humor. The handsome Bateman comes across as a welcome addition to the comedy genre and a man with enough sexual charisma to please the ladies. Plus, McAdams is one of those leading ladies who can play comedy in the genre of Carole Lombard or Rosalind Russell from Hollywood’s Golden Age and still look glamorous while doing nutty things.

The premise of the film involves a group of friends getting together once a week to play various games for recreation and fun. Each of their friends has his or her own personality. Billy Magnussen as Ryan is a single guy who dates a different girl every week. His bulb is so dim it’s opaque. Funny guy. African American couple Kevin (Lemorne Morris) and Michelle (Kylie Bunbury) are hysterically funny because of their bickering about Denzel Washington. Exiled next-door neighbor Gary is a recently divorced cop who is depressed. Jesse Plemons has created a mysteriously funny and scary character with one bullet short of a full magazine. It’s a stand-out performance and fascinating to watch. He could be a candidate next year for a Best Supporting Oscar® nomination.

When Max’s brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler) returns home after being absent attending to shady businesses around the world, the innocent game players get involved in a more dangerous game of murder and mayhem, as proposed by Brooks. Little do they know that Brooks is involved with drug cartels, vicious millionaires (Danny Huston), and murderous thugs (Michael C. Hall as The Bulgarian).

Slapstick comedy returns in a big and welcome way as things get choatic and the Keystone Kops chases jump-start the game players. With non-stop hijinks propelling the game players to pursue the bad guys via hair-raising car chases, Max remains clueless about his brother’s gangland connections. During all the madness of the car chases and running down streets and alleys to get away from the bad guys, sharp and funny quips between the participants keep the dialogue flying at a speed-skating pace. Funny lines abound as written by clever screenwriter Mark Perez. The film mixes forties screwball comedy (Cary Grant style) and gangland involvements (Jimmy Cagney style). There is nary a dull moment either between the action or the smart dialogue and funny scenes. Both Bateman and McAdams are up to keeping the Hollywood Golden Age of ribald humor alive in this bright, hilarious comedy-romance-thriller. Don’t miss it. This one will put you in a good mood -- and it may inspire you to kiss your honey.

(Released by Warner Bros./New Line Cinema and rated “R” for language, sexual references and some violence.)

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