Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bored Game

You know you're in trouble when the opening credits of a film say, "Based upon the Parker Brothers' board game Clue." Board games should not be turned into films. There's a reason that there isn't a board game genre - the idea is LAME. Besides, it would be a bitch to cast Rich Uncle Pennybags.

Clue (1985), a take-off of that delightful-for-about-five-minutes board game, has a huge cult following. That's the biggest mystery that I discovered in my viewing. After seeing it, I'm feeling more than a little suspect. These fans must have been hit upside the head with the wrench a few too many times. Did we watch the same movie?

There are murders aplenty in Clue, but the real terror stems from witnessing a cavalcade of comedic greats (Tim Curry, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren, and the late Madeline Kahn) floundering, drowning even, in the painful ineptitude of the script and direction (Hello? Pacing?). There are so many unintentionally awkward silences (A terrible joke every ten minutes? Try to keep up with the whiz-bang speed of Clue!). Sometimes you can sense emotion, see some sort of plot/character development, or find humor in well-executed awkward silences (The Office has that cornered), but here, the silence is cavernously empty. You know the expression "You can cut the tension with a knife"? Well, if you tried to cut the air with the infamous knife (you know, was it the knife in the study, or was it in the observatory?) in any given scene in Clue, you wouldn't encounter one iota of tension or resistance whatsoever. In fact, the vigor of your slicing motion would most likely make the knife fly out of your hand and cause you to face-plant on the floor, possibly on top of the knife, thus stabbing yourself, which would actually be more pleasant and humane than sitting through Clue. My point is: there's nothing there to cut! Wait, scratch that. The whole movie could be axed. Clue is like a black hole of comedy.

The actors ride the clunky joke anvil all the way down, to the very bottom, and it thuds to the ground with seismic intensity every time humor is pitifully attempted. That sound you hear? Jokes falling flat. The noise produced is not unlike that of the blunt force of a lead pipe or candlestick to the skull. Boom. Thud. Clatter. Ugh. The revolver should have been used to shoot the hell out of the ridiculous script, and then turned on every back-up source so that nothing remained. Hmm, I guess I have to incorporate the last weapon. Okay, how's this: After a gag about dog poo bombed not once, not twice, but FOUR times, that rope was looking mighty tempting. Where's the nearest rafter? Ooh, another possibility for the rope would be to use it to tie up someone you really hate and make them watch Clue. What marvelous functionality! Madeline Kahn gives this movie way more than it deserves. However, not even her excellent performance can redeem this atrocity.

I did not view Clue during the phases of life (childhood, adolescence, teenage-ness) in which many people seem to have forged their inexplicable and eternal love for this appalling mess. I've heard people rave about this movie my whole life. Now, at last, I've seen what I haven't been missing. I have no fondness for Clue. It's as dead to me as Mr. Boddy.

I would rather have read the instruction manual to the board game for an hour and a half than watched Clue.

Rating: Zero stars.

No comments: