John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein’s “Game Night” is a cleverly constructed comedy that was inexplicably dismissed as a made-up joke. Working from a clever script credited to Mark Perez, the film’s happy idea is that the participants in this city-spanning game have no idea that their lives are in constant danger.
Jason Bateman and McAdams occupy the film’s central arc as a married couple who believe that every near-death situation is pre-planned nonsense. Bateman is wonderful as the estranged husband, but McAdams casts herself as Annie, a flighty delight who at one point finds herself using a loaded gun as an artificial microphone while singing Third Eye Blind’s “Semi-Charmed Life.” . The script calls for her to be unflappable, and she complies with aplomb every time. When she is forced to extract a bullet from Bateman’s arm, only to discover that it came out of it, her emotional reaction is one of happiness. She can’t help but think that this is a game, even though she clearly isn’t. This is gloriously accentuated when she watches her potential executioner get sucked into a jet engine. “Oh no, she died,” is a line reading for the ages.
Rachel McAdams is the semi-reincarnation of Carole Lombard. She revels in silliness, but look at her in the second season of “True Detective,” and you have a tragic, slow-burning alcoholic. She can do anything. Give McAdams space and let her cook. The best is yet to come.
His next feature, the highly anticipated adaptation of Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret,” hits theaters April 28, 2023.