What could have been a travesty of an example of Hollywood mining the kids games and shows of yesteryear (GIJoe, Battleship, Transformers), was given such sterling treatment in terms of concept, writing, and quality actors.
I mean, seriously... Madeline Kahn? Christopher Lloyd? Michael McKean?
Tim Curry, for crying out loud!
If I were to criticize anything about the casting, I'd be left only with Lee Ving as Mr.Body. He really isn't convincing either as the king of a blackmailing ring or a butler in his own right, but maybe that's just me.
I suppose they were just going for as oily a character as they could make for the fifteen or so minutes he's onscreen before someone in the house makes him the requisite murder victim we all knew he'd be from the game.
Anyways, the basic premise is that of the board game with a few twists to make rational the liberties taken with the game's names and scenarios.
A group of six men and women, from differing professions, backgrounds, and means, and known of whom know each other, all come together for a dinner party where they are invited to confront the person who has been blackmailing them individually. They are served dinner, treated to the revelation of their own shames, and shown the administer of their misfortune... and then the murder begins.
Now, that sounds dark, but it's really a rather lighthearted affair because, despite the seriousness of the situation as nerves begin to crumble and bodies stack up, just about every line is embedded with amusing snark and there's just the right amount of whimsy and slapstick.
As far as comedy goes, you can never go wrong with Clue.
All of the main ensemble and a good many of the victims (that's right, victims, plural) have golden moments of sarcasm, innuendo, or just outright buffoonery, but you never feel like any of it is forced or hackneyed.
Whether it's Col.Mustard being outwitted by everyone in the room or Professor Plum's lustiness, Mrs.White's black widow routine or Mr.Green's cowering dorkiness, each actor plays their archetypes with such comedic aplomb that I cannot help but memorize their lines, intonation and all, and play the fool right along with them.
The standout for the film is, of course, Tim Curry as Wadsworth the Butler. Sure, everyone is spot on perfect, but he all but steals the show from the rest of the cast. Where they are all immaculate cogs in the murder-mystery machine, he is at the helm and drives the entirety of the film.
This is, for me, Tim's finest role. While I love Rocky Horror to death, it's not even close to as neat, tidy, funny, and consistent as Clue.
The entirety of the film gels in such as way as to beg perfection. It's only real issue is that it's never quite cinematic. It feels more like a stupendous bit of theater that just happens to have been put to film.
Maybe that's due to there only really being one location and being a one-trick genre pony that is just so darn clever and appealing, but still, I'd be hard pressed not to nominate this film for Best Comedy and Screenplay.
Speaking of theater, I've seen rumblings online that someone has managed to make a stage production of the film. Boy, would I love to see that! Hell, I'd love to produce that!
If you haven't seen Clue, put it in your queue/buy it immediately. If you have, watch it again! Set up viewings with friends and introduce it to as many Clue-virgins as you can. This is a film that is meant to be enjoyed over and over again until you almost know every line and gesture by heart. It comes with my highest recommendation and woe to the movie-lover that hates it, as I will find you and force feed it to you Clockwork Orange-style until your eyes bleed from its pure awesomeness.
Until tomorrow, Potatoes~