She launched her acting career playing one of the leads in the feature film “Prom” and he’s best known for playing Winston on the popular Fox series “New Girl.” In the upcoming comedy “Game Night,” Kylie Bunbury and Lamorne Morris play childhood sweethearts whose wedded bliss turns suddenly toxic after a drinking game . One of the funniest films of the year, “Game Night” follows six uber-competitive gamers who set out to solve a case, but find themselves increasingly in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn.
The film kicks off with immediate laughs as it introduces audiences to Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) whose weekly couples game night gets kicked up a notch when Max’s charismatic brother, Brooks (Kyle Chandler), arranges a murder mystery party, complete with fake thugs and faux federal agents. Always looking to one-up his little bro, Brooks has promised the avid small-time gamers an epic night, far beyond their usual menu of charades, trivia and Pictionary. So, minutes later, when armed thugs break down the door and drag him away, bound and gagged, the friends are duly impressed by how realistic the fight seemed. They can hardly believe it was all staged and go along with the kidnap anxious to win the grand prize – Brook’s vintage red Corvette Stingray, but as the night progresses, they discover this game night is not quite what they had in mind.
A big ensemble comedy with a fresh approach: shot like an action thriller from the first punch to the last reveal, it aims to keep audiences not only laughing but also guessing. Directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are interested in telling a story and giving the actors the latitude to do some fun stuff with their characters, while playing to their strengths. The duo who last collaborated on the comedy “Vacation” have worked together on several films and know what works and what doesn’t and push the chummy chemistry to the core.
“It was a comedy warehouse! There was a ton of humor on the set. If you had an idea about something, there was a million people to pitch it to as everybody is funny onset,” shares Lamorne Morris whose character Kevin discovers a secret about his wife Michelle during the drinking game, lending another line of mystery—and humor—to the proceedings.
“It was good casting and good chemistry. We get along, we respect each other and we balance each other out. Michelle is a little more like the grounded one and Kevin is all over the place and so he brings out more fun,” adds Bunbury. Among the steady game night players is also Max and Annie’s old friend Ryan (Billy Magnussen) —along with whoever he happens to be dating at the moment. Usually young, hot and not too bright Instagram models which add to the laughs.
The beauty of “Game Night” are the actors who have different styles, but a similar sense of humor. Bateman is as he always is — sarcastic, sardonic, enjoyable and entertaining, Jesse Plemons as the strange and lonely next-door neighbor, Gary, who just wants to be included has the perfect deadpan delivery and is certainly the standout. Jeffrey Wright also has a small role as an FBI Agent in one of the funniest scenes in the movie. Chelsea Peretti appears as Glenda, one of the original Murder Mystery Players. Rounding off the cast is Danny Huston as an obscenely wealthy and powerful man called Anderton and Michael C. Hall as a volatile international crime lord known only as The Bulgarian.
Adult without being crass, goofy without being slapstick, the laughs in this “Game Night” come fast and furious. A hugely satisfying comedy with a steady supply of laughs there are, however, some serious messages. “The movie has so many different meanings you can take from it and there’s all these little games within the game of Game Night,” continues Morris. “There are a lot of messages which are to appreciate what you have. Maintain solid friendships with people, don’t judge a book by its past cover and be kind to people for you never know what lessons someone could teach you.” With consistent hilarity from beginning to end, “Game Night” is an enjoyable entertainment ride. Everyone is having a good time making this film and are able to share that with the audience.
“Game Night” releases in theaters February 23
By Samantha Ofole-Prince/Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures & Hopper Stone