Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Jason Bateman Action Comedy That's Dominating Amazon Video

Melding genres can produce fresh and genuinely thrilling movies, like horror-comedy Ready or Not, or total clunkers, like the puppets-meets-gritty crime drama The Happytime Murders. Based on its impressive box office haul and all the enthusiastic reviews, 2018's comedy action-thriller Game Night falls squarely in the former camp. The best proof is that it's been two years since its release, and audiences still appear to be loving the movie, as evidenced by its domination of the Amazon Video charts.

The movie comes from screenwriter Mark Perez and directors Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley (after he left Bones to focus on his directorial career), who directed Vacation and co-wrote the screenplay for Spider-Man: Homecoming. The ensemble cast includes Ozark patriarch Jason Bateman, Oscar-nominee Rachel McAdams, TV icon Kyle Chandler, and Breaking Bad scene-stealer Jesse Plemons, all of whom fully commit to the movie's sublime mix of laugh-a-minute comedy and explosive action. Here's what you need to know about the genre-bending comedy that's currently blowing up on Amazon Video.

What is Game Night about?

Max (Bateman) and Annie's (McAdams) friends are used to things getting intense at their ultra-competitve game nights. But when Max's successful and jealousy-inducing brother, Brooks (Chandler), decides to take over hosting duties one week, the group gets much more than a particularly loud game of Scattergories.

Brooks promises to up the ante by telling the assembled players that he has organized an interactive mystery of sorts, where one of them will be "kidnapped" and the rest will have to follow clues to find them. When armed men break into his house and haul him away, the group assumes it's all part of the elaborately staged fun. However, once they start following the clues they find around Brooks' house, they realize that the kidnappers weren't actors trying to make some money on the side.

The hunt for Brooks leads the group headfirst into a plot involving a nefarious black market gang. As it turns out, the "game" they're playing is very real and potentially deadly. With nowhere to go but forward, they must use their competitive spirits and puzzle-solving skills to get themselves out of the toughest situation this side of a game of Risk.

Game Night drew inspiration from a '90s David Fincher thriller

Game Night is marketed as an action-comedy (or a comedic thriller, if you prefer), and it takes its status as a genre-melding film seriously. While the comedy is front and center throughout the movie, it doesn't skimp on the action or thriller elements. There are bloody gunfights, stunning twists, and seriously menacing villains in the midst of the jokes.

That was very much by the design of the films' directors. During an interview with Collider, Goldstein and Daley were asked about the thriller elements of the movie, with Steve Weintraub pointing to possible inspiration from David Fincher's 1997 thriller The Game, which has similar plot elements. Goldstein confirmed the connection, stating, "That was one of the inspirations ... we wanted to make a movie that was a combination of a comedy and a thriller, and Fincher is a great inspiration for that. Both stylistically and in terms of the way that movie twists and turns and you're never sure what's real."

Daley added, "We visually wanted to definitely capture the moodiness of a thriller, but maintain the jokes of a comedy. And have the twists of a thriller, as well."

Considering the strong reviews from critics, the directors were able to do just that. They also got more than a little help from their cast who, for some viewers, were the secret to the film's success.

Critics had a hard time picking just one MVP from Game Night's stellar ensemble

When Game Night released it was met with praise from critics, who loved the movie's blend of humor and thrills. Another element that received high marks across the board was the film's cast. Bateman and McAdams may have lead the ensemble, but with performers like Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Lamorne Morris, and Kylie Bunbury along for the ride, there were plenty of accolades to go around.

Lindsey Bahr of The Associated Press thought the ensemble was firing on all cylinders. She wrote, "They have an easy chemistry with one another that resembles that sort of lived-in friendship that usually only comes across midway through the first season of a sitcom."

Meanwhile, Sam Adams at Slate singled out McAdams and her chemistry with Bateman for praise, while making sure to note that these words were intended "not to slight Horgan's dry wit or Magnussen's elegant idiocy or Morris' magnificent Denzel Washington impression."

Emily Yoshida at Vulture also applauded McAdams, calling her "the stealth MVP." Additionally, she called Horgan "fantastic" and Magnussen a "riotously dumb himbo." At AZ Central, Bill Goodykoontz drew attention to the work of Plemons and Chandler, while adding that the entire cast delivered stellar work that elevated the material: "They play the dumbest developments totally straight, each successively unlikely twist like it was Shakespeare."

Whether you're in it for the laughs or the gasps, Game Night is ready to give you what you want out of a blockbuster movie.