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Game Over: The Secret Life Of Game Store Clerks (2008)

Theatrical Poster
Genres / Traits:
Comedy, Gross-Out Comedy, Workplace Comedy, Video Games
Directors:
Larry Wade Carrell Larry Wade Carrell
Joshua Mercurio Drapehs Joshua Mercurio Drapehs
Starring:
Larry Wade Carrell Larry Wade Carrell
Raven Carrell Raven Carrell
Joshua Mercurio Drapehs Joshua Mercurio Drapehs
El Farto El Farto
Rp Boo Gay Rp Boo Gay

6.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 16, 2008
Thanks to a little film called Clerks, the lowly retail cashier has become a somewhat common character in the world of cinema. We've had the Kevin Smith imitators (naturally), we've had clerks fighting the undead, and hell, we've had cashiers fighting the good fight against supernatural forces. When I received my copy of Game Over, I immediately lumped it into the "imitators" category of films in my head, and now that I've watched it, I can't say that that preconceived notion was entirely unfounded. However, unlike a fair portion of the other imitators out there, this particular film captured what really made Clerks work so well: the characters. A film like this can pull a couple of laughs with some dick and fart jokes and it may strike a chord with those who have worked these types of jobs, but for a film to be truly memorable, it simply has to have characters that the audience can relate to while still being entertaining to watch. Game Over achieved this.

Much like Clerks, it's hard to do the storyline justice with just a paragraph or two. Basically, it revolves around Bruce (Larry Carrell), a thirty-something slacker who works at Game Master, the local video game store that stole a page or two from GameStop. There, he spends his days shooting the shit with his friends, ogling the female customers, berating the idiots, playing video games, and keeping an eye out for the Phantom Shitter (Albion Watson).

Wait, what? Yes, you read that right: there's a superhero roaming the streets, only instead of fighting crime, he sneaks into the local shops and drops a steaming load in out of the way places for "shits" and giggles. Local lawman Tackelberry (R.P. "Boo" Gay) is hot on the Shitter's heels, an overweight and flatulent luchador named El Farto (Joshua Drapehs) makes his presence known, Bruce does battle with bitchy coworker Becky (Amy Staggs), falls for Kelly (Abby Morgan), and even performs an awesome rendition of Ozzy's Bark at the Moon with the help of Guitar Hero.

It's a comedy with no real story, but much like the aforementioned Clerks, the characters keep it interesting. Actually, to be fair, there is a piece of the story that I left out that deals with the owners deciding to shut down the store and replace the video games with porn, but this really isn't focused on too much in the grand scheme of things; our hero hears the news, ponders what to do when he loses his job, and then it's back to the same routine that preceded the announcement. It's brought up a time or two after this and does give the characters something fresh to discuss, but to call this a huge part of the story would be misleading.

Yes, it's the characters that make the film, and I was shocked at just how well they worked on their own and with each other. The script is tight and extremely well-written, and even though the entire thing was shot in just nine days, the overall film feels about as polished as it's going to get. The characters are likable, they're identifiable (especially if you've ever worked around the general public), and best of all, they're actually pretty damned funny. On that note, it doesn't matter if you're a fan of video games or not - it'll help, but you won't be missing out on much if you've never played Guitar Hero or if you don't know the difference between a Playstation and an Xbox. The game store is the setting and its wares do come into play from time to time, but the vast majority of the material relies on the character interactions rather than the games themselves.

I was also pleasantly surprised by the performance given by writer / director / leading man Larry Carrell. The lead role in any film is obviously one that has to be handled properly to make the film work, and this is doubly true in a comedy where line delivery and dialogue are highly important. When you go back to that thing that I said about the film being very character-oriented, I think that it'll become clear why his performance alone could have easily made the film unwatchable. Thankfully, that wasn't the case: Carrell is perfectly natural in front of the camera, and he's genuinely funny to boot. The rest of the cast ranges from great (R.P. Gay stole many a scene and Amy Staggs plays the bitch role to perfection) to acceptable to not so great (this mainly applies to some of the extras and bit parts), but it's readily apparent that everyone was giving it their all and this made for a much more enjoyable film.

My one gripe about the film is that some of the lines are hard to decipher, and a couple of them prove to be impossible to understand. This is particularly bothersome when you come to the end of the film: all of the pieces of the story have been wrapped up, Bruce has won the girl of his dreams, he leans down to kiss her, looks to the camera, and says... something. The credits begin to roll, and we sit there wondering what in the hell he just said, and after five or six rewinds, we still don't know. Maybe it was just me, but I had this problem with about three or four lines throughout the running time - nothing to make you pass on the film, but bothersome nonetheless.

I've compared Game Over to Clerks numerous times throughout this review, so bottom line: is this film as good as Kevin Smith's classic? I wouldn't go that far, but I will say that it's a damned enjoyable ninety minutes in front of the tube, and if you enjoyed Clerks, you're guaranteed to have a good time with this one. It's not quite a perfect film, but it's definitely one of the funniest releases that I've seen in the last couple of months. 9/10.
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