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Clue (1985)

DVD Cover (Paramount)
Genres / Traits:
Comedy, Comedy Thriller, Mystery, Parody / Spoof, Screwball Comedy, Whodunit, Toys
Director:
Jonathan Lynn Jonathan Lynn
Starring:
Eileen Brennan Eileen Brennan
Tim Curry Tim Curry
Madeline Kahn Madeline Kahn
Christopher Lloyd Christopher Lloyd
Michael McKean Michael McKean

7.3 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Crispy
Added: May 08, 2009
Clue is a movie based on the board game. Yes, you read that correctly. A childhood favorite of mine, the game revolved around solving the murder of Mr. Boddy, specifying the murderer, weapon and location. I'm sure the number of people who didn't know that could be counted on one hand, so let's move on to the movie.

In a scary ass mansion in the middle of nowhere, six complete strangers converge for a dinner party. They are greeted at the door by the butler, Wadsworth, where they are reminded that they should stick to the color-oriented pseudonym they were assigned in their invitation. Over dinner, they realize that they all live in the Washington, D.C. and that none of them know who their host, Mr. Boddy, even is. Or so they think. As Mr. Boddy himself joins the group, Wadsworth reveals that Mr. Boddy is the man who has been blackmailing them all for various reasons. Wadsworth's wife was also being blackmailed, and has recently committed suicide because of it. Naturally, the butler is none to happy about this; he's looking for a little vengeance and has called the police, claiming he can destroy the evidence Mr. Boddy has on them. Despite being pointed out to these six very angry people, Boddy isn't worried in the least. Remarking that if he's arrested he'll just reveal their secrets anyway since the evidence isn't needed to start the scandals; he has no intention to end the blackmail. Giving each a (familiar) weapon, he instructs them to kill Wadsworth when he turns off the lights to ensure his silence. When the lights come back on, Boddy is lying face down and everyone else is denying the guilt. As they work to solve who killed Mr. Boddy before the police arrive, the bodies start piling up and hilarity ensues.

I was kind of nervous going into this, since I haven't heard a whole lot of good things about it. Fortunately, they were proven wrong very early on. The majority of the comedy comes from gags and a tongue firmly planted in cheek. While a few running gags are used, the majority are small one-offs. For example, Mrs. White makes mention of cutting off her ex-husband's penis, and the three men, in unison, cross their legs without speaking a word. Hell, even the stand alone quotes were pretty funny. I also liked the little nods to the game they threw in here and there. Sure, there were the rooms and the weapons, but even the floor of the mansion matched the game's playing board, and at one point they used the manila envelope that housed the guilty cards. And of course, there was Wadsworth shouting, "That's what we're trying to find out! We're trying to find out who killed him and where and with what!"

While the entire cast put on fine shows and no one garnered any complaints from me, Tim Curry was phenomenal as Wadsworth, proving that there is such a thing as perfectly overacting. Fitting in with the rest of the movie perfectly, Curry goes completely off the rails here, using a dizzying line delivery while alternating between stoic confusion and manic fits. The whole thing is capped nicely as he bounces off the walls, recapping the entire film in about twenty minutes. It sounds tedious, but the scene is actually funny as hell. And speaking of bouncing, Colleen Camp was smoking hot as the low-cut clad French maid, and that's always a plus.

The biggest thing this movie is remembered for is the fact that it has multiple endings. Granted, people seem to think it has somewhere between seven to ten endings, the truth is it only has three (a fourth was shot, but it was scrapped). This has been handled a variety of ways over the years. During its theatrical run, moviegoers would be treated to an ending at random. Some theatres, but not all, would announce what ending was about to be played: A, B or C. When it arrived on VHS, it would play all three, denouncing A and B as hypothetical before claiming C was the true ending. The DVD gave you the option of choosing the VHS style combination or the random approach. Unfortunately, what it neglected to add was the option of choosing your favorite ending. While this may seem as a minor thing, the problem is that one of the endings is so much better than the other two endings that the viewer doesn't even want to waste their time with them. Even going the combination route, you're forced to sit the first two generic endings before getting to the good one, and having to reach for the fast forward button puts a bit of damper on the movie watching experience. I understand what they were trying to do with this, and had all the endings been of equal par it would have been brilliant, but with one so far ahead of the pack, it's just an annoyance.

Even with that complaint, the movie is fun as hell. The quotes and sheer ridiculous of it all had me giggling quite a few times throughout. Despite being panned throughout its theatrical introduction, it's picked up a cult following over the years, and I'm not surprised. Although, I will admit I was a bit disappointed that the colors of the characters' wardrobes did not coincide with their namesakes. 7.5/10.
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Farley #1: Farley - added 05/08/2009, 04:36 PM
Ahh, loved this movie.
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