Game Night ★★★½

Patently absurd and yet so much fun, Game Night keeps you guessing, with just the right amount of twists and turns, including a tag ending that drives home a darker observation that life is a game and we all play multiple parts.

What sets things in motion here is a group of friends who get together once a week to play games – that can go from any kind of board game to charades to pictionary to trivia pursuit. The group always meets at one couple's home where a loser cop lives next door. The cop used to be invited but is such a downer that no-one can stand him, especially after his wife left him.

The older brother of the host drops into town and invites himself to one of the game nights. We discover that the older brother is rich and has always one-upped the younger brother (we know this because he shows up driving a 77 Vette, arrest me red – the exact car that was the younger brother's dream vehicle. After a night of story telling the older brother then invites the group to the house he's renting for the next week's game night.

When next week rolls around and everyone is dutifully impressed with the fantastic home, the older brother announces that this week things will be different – yep, he's hired one of those acting services to put on a performance in one of those murder mystery type affairs. The script involves a kidnapping and once the “play” begins things start to go hinky, with the older brother getting beaten and kidnapped. The rest of the group initially believes that it's all play acting and try to solve the riddle like clues in order to win the game (and the Vette). The audience realizes that an actual kidnapping occurred but the group of gamers spend much time thinking it's all part of the game.

That's the premise: and while absurd in so many ways, the film pulls it off, making you laugh at all the crazy plot twists and funny scenes. Sure, if you took the film seriously you'd take issue, but this is one where you just sit back and enjoy the fun.

Earlier I mentioned a tag ending that comes towards the end of the credits. The scene doubles back to an earlier plot device where, during a drinking game, the wife of one of the gamers admits to sleeping with Denzel Washington (she's even kept a selfie of DW and herself on her cell phone). To prove that she did indeed sleep with a “celebrity” she shows the pic to her husband who realizes that, while looking a bit like DW, the man clearly is NOT him. So the tag shows the same scene in which the woman meets DW at a gas station. The same conversation takes place, only at the end the camera turns and you see that the DW lookalike is chatting up a totally different woman. Yep, game players all.

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