8 Things Parents Should Know About ‘Game Night’

Reading Time: 4 minutes

1. Will I like Game Night?

I went into Game Night with low expectations. The trailer didn’t look very good and the movie seemed predictable. I ended up enjoying it a lot and laughed out loud throughout. Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams both do a great job throughout the movie and the supporting cast is pretty great, especially Jesse Plemons, in a supporting role. This comedy avoids common comedic tropes and feels fairly original. The laughter is pretty much nonstop and, walking out of the theater, I felt it was a movie I really wanted to watch again soon.

2. Will my kids like Game Night?

The plot is something that kids may enjoy — it’s a zany chase with lots of action. But, as you can tell from the trailer, Bateman gets shot. He suffers no real ill effects from this wound throughout the movie and I’m not sure that’s a great message for kids. Additionally, there are lots of sexual references early in the film, many related to infidelity, along with some others that, even if your kids are mature enough to understand and process, you may not find appropriate. Hey, there’s a reason they call it adult humor and not just humor. Recommended for older teens and up.

3. When is a good time for a bathroom break?

Game Night is a shorter movie, clocking in at 93 minutes. But if you have to duck out, around the 45 minute mark, when Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams characters enter a bar, or at the top of the hour. when everyone is gathered in the kitchen, are both times for a quick dash to the restroom.

4. Is the rating appropriate?

The film is rated R for language, sexual references, and some violence. The sexual references are what some might object to and at the beginning of the movie they are somewhat pervasive. The language mostly relates to the sexual references and the violence, while key to the plot, is mild to moderate and, in some cases, comical.

5. What is it about?

A group of friends enjoys a weekly game night but when the host’s brother decides to change things up with a murder mystery, things go horribly wrong. The brother is kidnapped and everyone thinks it’s part of a game, but it turns out to be very real. In this dark comedy, it becomes a challenge to win because the players can’t tell what is real and what is just a game.

6. Do I need to stay to the end of the credits?

Yes. As soon as the credits roll, there is a scene which doesn’t add a lot to the film but is kind of fun. You might think for a simple comedy that would be it, but stay until the very end of the credits and there’s a final scene that addresses a loose end in the story and is very laugh-worthy.

7. Did they at least play decent games in the movie?

The focus on the games played at their game night were really just charades and home-brewed versions of Pictionary and Catch Phrase. Additionally, Life, Clue, Scrabble, and Monopoly were mentioned, but not played on screen. It was a good choice, as far as storytelling goes, because these are games that are readily identifiable and fit in the theme. Had they been playing Raiders of the North Sea, it likely would have created a moment of confusion for the average movie patron. Still, it would have been nice to have a nod to modern gaming.

8. What are some good games to incorporate into our game night?

While we cannot suggest murder mysteries that turn into real kidnappings, we can recommend some great party games that will liven up any game night (and are appropriate for the whole family).

Codenames might be the best party game of the last ten years (read our review). It’s Password meets the Cold War as you try to identify your spies while avoiding an assassin. Telestrations is the telephone game, but with drawings. Think you can’t play because you have trouble with stick figures? Believe me when I say that only makes the game better.

Social deduction games like One Night Ultimate Werewolf (read our review) or The Resistance are so much fun, you will play them over and over and over — often in the same night. If you’re into a quick and small game, A Fake Artist Goes to New York pits everyone against one. Players take turns adding a quick line to a sketch. The hiccup is that everyone knows what the drawing is except for one player. Can you work out who the fake artist is? Finally, one of my new favorites is When I Dream. Players take turns dreaming, covering their eyes (with an included sleep mask) and listening to clues. If they can identify the right words from the clues, they earn points. But other players are working both for and against the dreamer. It’s immense fun.

Game night doesn’t have to include the old classics; there are so many new games that are actually more enjoyable. But whatever you choose for your game night, have fun!

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