December 13, 1985
United States (English)
Directed by Jonathan Lynn
Written by Jonathan Lynn & John Landis (Based on the game by Anthony E. Pratt)
"Clue" is crass, but more criminal, not that funny. It has mild charms but is absolutely undeserving of any "classic" status.
It was difficult to be born in the '80s and to have not seen Jonathan Lynn's "Clue," but somehow I managed. Sure, I had seen scenes and noted references, but until last night I had not sat down to watch the entire film. Adapting the popular board game into a murder mystery set during a single evening was a clever idea, but where they run with it is bloated and banal. One in ten jokes land, if that, making the comedic ratio for "Clue" a flat-out failure. In desperation for entertainment I let myself be amused by some of the slapstick, often the lowest common denominator on the humor totem pole. But maybe a candlestick falling on someone's head is always funny as long as it isn't someone we love.
The ensemble cast of shrill and unlikeable characters gives us nobody to root for throughout the chaotic night. The non-stop chatter and frequent shouting is absolutely grating. Of all involved I enjoyed watching Tim Curry (he plays the butler), at least when you can avoid the unavoidable cleavage of the busty French maid played by Colleen Camp. Curry's reactions, predictions, and eventual explanations (this last part is put to a sprint against the John Morris score) are the better bits, but even this is dragged down as the troop retraces their steps of the entire evening. Multiple endings further prevent it from ending any sooner.
I suspect this movie plays better for groups and at parties. For whatever inexplicable reason we tend to be more accepting of the idiotic in such settings. I started watching "Clue" with my wife who dismissed it as "the stupidest thing ever" about a half hour in and left me to suffer it alone. (Note: My wife loves "Hot Rod," I love "Kung Pow: Enter the Fist"... I guess we all have our dumb poisons.) My advice for today's generation? Skip the film and cherish the board game, which I hope we can all agree is a classic.
CONTENT: sexual references and innuendo throughout, some language, some violence
(Updated on 9/26/12)