Movie Review - Clue

Movie Review - Clue
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Release Date: 13 December 1985
Running Time: 94 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG
Editor’s Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars, but I didn’t do it!

Board games are here for a reason - to entertain. It’s the same reason movies exist. Movies enhance and celebrate the human condition, they scare us to death, they make us cry, but ultimately they exist to entertain us. However, it’s a bit of a stretch to say that board games and movies are related since they both entertain. But don’t tell Hollywood that, it’s not going to listen anyway. So back in the 1980s, Paramount Pictures decided to cross a line that would pave the way for future filmmakers to make films like the 90-minute Navy recruitment commercials like Battleship, or the grossly-uninformed fantasy not-so-epic Dungeons & Dragons. Yet like all roads to oblivion, it was paved with the greatest of intentions, and executed pretty well.

The first thing Clue has going for it is its ensemble cast. The original characters are represented by talent like Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull, Michael McKean, Madeline Kahn, and Eileen Brennan. Rounding out the cast is the always-entertaining Tim Curry as Mr. Boddy’s frenetic and witty butler. The plot of the movie is just about as MacGuffin-y as the game itself: the movie’s characters are all summoned to the mansion home of Mr. Boddy under the threat of blackmail. Throughout the course of the evening, Mr. Boddy is murdered, and with every person in the house having the same motive, it comes down to good old-fashioned detective work by eight amateurs who don’t have the luxury of trusting their present company. The truth will be revealed in the end, but it’s something no one could have seen coming, primarily because there’s no way the audience could have seen coming.

When the movie premiered, it was a flop at the box office, and I guess I can see why. It’s campy and corny, which was fine in the 80s, but it wasn’t really risque or raunchy. This was the decade that gave us Porky’s, Caddyshack, and the Airplane! series, after all. The film also runs around in circles, literally, and unlike the classic mystery formula, its nigh impossible to figure out what actually happened. After looking at some Metacritic reviews, it really seems like many reviewers were looking for Clue to be an actually suspenseful film, rather than the screwball comedy it is. I’m not sure exactly where they got that from, since the trailer itself is as silly as the rest of the movie is, right down to its announcer and his fake Don LaFontaine.

Negative press aside, the film stands on its own as an entertaining hour and a half of movie. Madeline Kahn is great and understated as Miss White, Eileen Brennan is spastic and memorable as Mrs. Peacock, and Michael McKean is a great straight man for, well, everyone. Most notable here is Tim Curry. He’s a ball of energy with an awesome accent who is completely opposite of one’s perceptions of a traditional British butler. It’s a perfect casting decision, and the movie benefits greatly from it.

All in all, Clue is a great movie, funny, entertaining, and a great watch. I recommend it to anyone wanting to spend an hour and a half giggling. Just don’t expect to get scared.

**This movie is part of my personal collection.**

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