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Hardcore Gamers

Game Night is ridiculously smart, as much as it is ridiculous. This movie knows games. Throughout, in intense situations, characters inadvertently play variations on Operation, Guess Who, and others – but literally. One couple tries to remove a bullet stuck in one of their arms, another spends the first two acts arguing over who they slept with a few years prior. Everything in Game Night revolves around gaming. That’s clever.

It’s also intelligently shot. Tilt shift photography brings neighborhoods to as if part of a Monopoly board. Camera tricks during chase scenes add a unique layer to the action. Oh, and Game Night is wildly funny on top of this. While Game Night stays in the modern studio comedy mold, the script takes this Jason Bateman-starrer into an unpredictable series of swerves. What seems obvious isn’t obviously so. Watching Game Night becomes a game in itself.

Part of the joy lies in the overall cleverness. Game Night enjoys toying with its audience, sloshing them around in twists and testing the boundaries of logic. No one will call Game Night sensible. Everything that happens borders or oversteps the absurd. That’s all funny too. Rachel McAdams is a joy, taking her role to an extreme as she dances to Third Eye Blind while holding a group hostage. Bateman’s dry sarcasm melds to her outpouring of personality, a classic comedic duo, written and performed without fault.

Games bring people together, even those involving the international kidnapping trade

Earning a definite R-rating, the adult antics spew language and violence in buckets. Also, a touch of interpersonal heart; go figure. A man is sucked into a plane engine, but at least Game Night finds a dose of empathy. The couples involved work on infertility problems, family issues, infidelity, and general relationship flubs. Through this, the three couples bond, as a game night is intended to do, even if the scenario is relentless and dangerous. Games bring people together, even those involving the international kidnapping trade… by accident.

There’s a dash of Taken (even referenced as much in dialog) as characters race through the streets after a shady van. A romantic comedy pushes up in the center, from the perspective of married, unmarried, and divorced people. There’s a frat sex comedy that pumps in through the script with a slew of one-liners. Finally, that splash of exaggerated violence and adventure, all of which together gives Game Night a memorable identity.

Oh, and it has an adorable dog. It licks blood that dripped on the carpet after someone gets shot. It’s funny, or more so than it sounds.


In terms of resolution, Game Night delivers the necessary components. Facial detail shows in close with consistency. Exteriors handle the complexity of trees, bricks, and other elements. Sharpness stays peaked and the digital cinematography pleases in most areas.

Warner’s encode though? That’s a bother. Instead of clarity, noise ruptures the images. It’s persistent and bothersome, almost convincing as a rough grain structure until things ramp up. Compression introduces artifacts – minor ones, but still – and it feels like a throwback to some of the studio’s encodes from five, six years ago.

Positives do outweigh the noise. Color jumps out, pouring out accurate flesh tones and bright primaries. That saturation calls to the digital artifacts. Still, the palette remains stout and peppy, giving life to Game Night’s scenery. Both warm and cool color grading play a role, and nicely balanced.

Black levels stand out, adding depth to the imagery. Fine contrast helps balance thing out, even as much of Game Night takes place at night.


Until the finale, Game Night sits comfortably in the center channel, with minor spread into the stereos from the soundtrack. It’s routine.

A spirited car chase midway through does lightly pan audio into the surrounds. Limited bass extension is held back until later. There, a plane slams down onto tarmac, hitting the low-end and spreading sound into the rears and fronts. That’s fun.


Pass on An Unforgettable Night. This four-minute EPK isn’t worth anyone’s time. However, the lengthy gag reel (near seven minutes) is a blast. That’s it for bonuses however.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

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Part of Game Night’s appeal is playing along, discovering the references amid a bevy of well formed laughs.

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