Game Night

Movie review by
Michael Ordona, Common Sense Media
Game Night Movie Poster Image
Over-the-top comedy has strong language, bloody violence.
  • R
  • 2018
  • 100 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 20 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Underneath the over-the-top comedy is a message about learning to appreciate what's really important, rather than chasing someone else's glory. That said, this movie isn't about imparting life lessons.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Annie is brave, smart, and loyal. One of the female guests is probably the smartest person in the movie. Two of the couples are examples of marital bliss. Max displays deep loyalty to his somewhat churlish brother and learns some lessons about what's really important in life. That said, everyone does insane, improbable, and often stupid things because this is an over-the-top comedy.

Violence

The violence is played for laughs, but it does get pretty bloody. There's gunplay (both real and fake in the world of the film), with bloody wounds. There's an extended fight scene in a house, a bloody fight-club scene (where rich people pay poor people to fight each other), and a few instances of people being violently struck -- including one person being hit by a car. Someone gets knifed. In one scene, a bleeding wound makes a significant mess. A man gets sucked into a jet engine and puréed. (Again, this is all played for laughs.)

Sex

No sex is shown, but sex acts are discussed -- all to comic effect. Kissing, groping, masturbation joke. A character's attempt at performing oral sex on himself is prominently mentioned. Discussion of sperm in the context of fertility (fertility treatment in general is discussed frankly). Brief mention of body parts in a sexual context. References to promiscuity.

Language

Frequent but not constant strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," "ass," "d--k," "pr--k," "goddamn," "hell," "son of a bitch," plus "Jesus Christ" and "oh my God" as exclamations.

Consumerism

Material success is definitely admired in the film, and a particular high-end collector's sports car is fetishized. Certain brand-name games are featured (Jenga, etc.). Tostitos likely had a product-placement deal.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Minor drinking at a party for adults. Quick reference to dealing heroin that isn't explored further. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Game Night is a good-natured, over-the-top comedy about a murder mystery party that goes very wrong. There's a lot of violence; most of it is played for laughs, but things can get really bloody. Characters use guns, and there's a fight club in which rich people pay poor people to fight each other. One person is hit by a car, someone gets knifed, and a man gets sucked into a jet engine and puréed. Again, all of this is played for laughs, so viewers who can differentiate between comic violence and, say, Scorsese violence can probably handle it. There's also frequent strong language ("f--k," "s--t," "ass," etc.) and some sexual content, including talk about sex acts and fertility treatments and references to a character trying to perform oral sex on himself. Other scenes show kissing/groping, as well as a bit of drinking. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams co-star.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 10 and 12 year old Written byHendo H. U February 21, 2018
Parent of a 11 year old Written byF. P. February 24, 2018

Funny Film despite the harsh language

There is drinking socially, harsh language, violence, blood from a gunshot and fist fighting. Some sex is discussed, ( masterbating is mentioned before a docto... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAceZach February 22, 2018

Hillarious and moderate

I will say going into it i was expecting a dull innappropriate raunch fest. While this film has minor sexual content and minor violence, is keeps is profanity o... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byCallumMoore666 March 17, 2018

Really funny movie has a fair share of comedic violence

This movie is hilarious, it's not just one of the movies you see and don't hink about watching it again your probably desperate for the disc. This mov... Continue reading

What's the story?

In GAME NIGHT, Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) are trying to have a baby; their doctor (Camille Chen) thinks stress might be affecting Max. It's no wonder, given the impending arrival of his better-at-everything big brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler). Max and Annie carry on with their traditional game night with friends Kevin and Michelle (Lamorne Morris and Kylie Bunbury) and Ryan and whomever he's dating (Billy Magnussen and, eventually, Sharon Horgan as Sarah), while trying to hide their plans from creepy cop neighbor Gary (Jesse Plemons), who really wants to play. When Brooks ups the ante on the festivities, things go dangerously awry, and these ordinary folks find themselves embroiled in an actual life-or-death criminal plot. But can they overcome Max and Brooks' sibling rivalry, Kevin and Michelle's relationship issues, and Ryan's epic stupidity in time?

Is it any good?

This hilarious gonzo comedy has a sharp script, clever direction, and an excellent cast. In Game Night, writer Mark Perez and directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein have crafted a tightly structured story with little visual tricks that turn out to be significant. That said, the movie really lives and dies by its cast, and this is a top-notch ensemble. Morris -- dependably funny on TV's New Girl -- gets laughs from his bubbling jealousy and dead-on Denzel Washington impersonation, clicking well with Bunbury. Horgan drily delivers as someone who's far too smart for her date; you'll likely wish there was more of her in the film. Magnussen is spectacularly idiotic as Ryan, which is a gift. Open-hearted blockheads are always welcome in comedies such as this, and Magnussen -- who's shown his dramatic chops in the likes of Birth of the Dragon -- hits it out of the park. Plemons' dead-eyed Gary generates big laughs by doing as little as possible. His stony "I see you" face and monotone delivery steal every scene he's in. (At one point, he happily invites the group into his house ... and, with a frozen smile, slowly backs into the darkness.)

And as Max and Annie, Bateman and McAdams have great chemistry. Their timing together, their small reactions to each other; they really read as a couple who love each other, have a lot in common, and accept each other's quirks. Oh, and they're really funny. Bateman, as usual, is an effective straight man with subdued wit. McAdams gets to be a little wackier than usual and has some superb reaction moments. They're an appealing pair, and we're happy to follow them through this gleefully bloody comedy with a fair amount of twists and genuine laughs.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in Game Night. Did you find it excessive? Did it disturb you? How did the movie's comic tone affect the impact of the violent scenes?

  • How is competitiveness typically portrayed on-screen? Have you ever wondered how your own competitiveness comes across to others? Do you compete with your family members in life?

  • What's the appeal of over-the-top comedies like this one? Who are they intended to appeal to? How can you tell?

Movie details

For kids who love dark comedies

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