Rated: R
Release Date: 02/23/2018
Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures

Jason Bateman, Rachel McAdams, Billy Magnussen, Kyle Chandler, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, Jesse Plemons and Michael C. Hall.

Directors: John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein. Producers: Jason Batemen, John Davis, John Fox and James Garavente. Executive Producers: Richard Brener, Michael Disco, Toby Emmerich, Marc S. Fischer and Dave Neustadter. Screenwriter: Mark Perez. Cinematographer: Barry Peterson.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

If you’re looking for some fun and laughs this weekend, the dark comedy “Game Night” won’t disappoint.

This movie is downright hilarious.

Directed by John Francis Daley (“Horrible Bosses”) and Jonathan Goldstein (“Vacation” remake), “Game Night” benefits greatly from stellar casting along with a wickedly clever script from Mark Perez (“Accepted”).

Jason Bateman (“Office Christmas Party”/TV’s “Arrested Development”) and Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”) play Max and Annie, a goofball, married couple who met at a bar during its game night and they crushed it by the way. Ever since then, they’ve been together hosting these weekly game night parties at their house along with a few close friends.

As much as he would like to be a part of the game night mix, their next-door-policeman neighbor Gary (a crazy looking Jesse Plemons, “The Post” and “Hostiles”) has just become too weird for Max and Annie. Much of Gary’s bizarre behavior stems from his recent divorce. The guy is just lonely, but he’s such a loser now, that no one wants to be around him except his cute, fluffy, white dog.

Max and Annie sometimes even have to lie to Gary about not having game night just so he’ll stop asking to come over. There’s a funny scene where they get caught when Gary questions Max about carrying in grocery bags of Tostitos.

What’s bothering Max even more is that his super successful brother Brooks (Kyle Chandler, “Manchester by the Sea”) is coming to town and wants to--as always--be the life of the game night party.

This time around Brooks also wants to have game night at his palatial pad just to show off, but also to take game night to another level. Does he ever.

The guests have no clue what’s in store for them. Then again, neither does Brooks although he arranged the evening’s festivities.

Meanwhile, before the “games” get started, Kevin (Lamore Morris, TV’s “New Girl”) and his wife Michelle (Kylie Bunbury, TV’s “Pitch”/“Under the Dome”) love each other, but are constantly arguing. This time Kevin accuses Michelle of having an affair with Denzel Washington. This bit is crazy funny.

Then there’s Ryan (Billy Magnussen, “Bridge of Spies” and TV’s “Black Mirror”) who is nothing more than a pretty face. How he’s been able to get through game night is mindboggling. But, he’s taking it so seriously now that he brought his smart, British co-worker, Sarah (Sharon Horgan, TV’s “Catastrophe” and “BoJack Horseman” as his date.

Brooks has staged an elaborate version of game night that features a convincing kidnapping scenario which is explained to everyone by a very official looking F.B.I. agent played by the excellent Jeffrey Wright (TV’s “Westworld”).

But just when Wright is delivering his spiel about what everyone must do to complete the investigation, something goes terribly wrong. The night of fun and games turns deadly serious. Problem is, Max and Annie and the rest of the bunch think it’s all part of the plan.

It’s not long before they are dodging bullets, being pursued by some very bad guys including a billionaire (Danny Huston, “Wonder Woman”), a Bulgarian mobster (Michael C. “Dexter” Hall, “Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought the White House Down” and TV’s “The Crown”) and some crazy goons (Zerrick Williams, TV’s “Atlanta”) and Joshua Mikel (TV’s “Black Lightning”).

And the reasons why have nothing to do with any sort of games. Still, there are so many twists and zany turns that “Game Night” takes, it will throw you for a loop, not to mention, keep you laughing throughout the majority of its 100 minutes run time.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays at 6:40 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Take A Peek At This Trailer For "GAME NIGHT"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), the Black Reel Awards Voting Academy and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Halls Of Anger Title: Halls Of Anger
Year Released: 1970
Running Time: 96
Production Company: Mirisch Corporation
Director: Paul Bogart
Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
Screenwriter: John Herman Shaner and Al Ramus
Author: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

REVIEW: Editor's Note: While this "Old School Video Pick" of "Halls of Anger" has run before, I couldn't help but update a few things in it after recently watching it again along with a few other Calvin Lockhart movies, like "Melinda" and "Rain." Lockhart was an enormously talented actor who left us way too soon.

Audiences may best remember Calvin Lockhart, as the tall, dark and handsome actor who...
What racially/controversial Broadway play did Calvin Lockhart star in with Angela Lansbury?