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Clue (1985)

  Directed by: Jonathan Lynn
Written by: John Landis, Jonathan Lynn
Starring: Eileen Brennan, Colleen Camp, Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren
Links: Clue on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 8.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Clue (1985) is also mentioned in mino's review of Gosford Park (2001).

"Really tickles my funnybone" - a review by mino

Clue is not a very good movie. But, at the same time, it's bloody fantastic. Confused? Well you might be — and well you will be when you try and keep pace with what the hell's happening.

Clue is loosely based on the board game of the same name (which is called Cluedo the UK and Australia) — a bunch of people with very strange names (Mrs White, Mr Green, Colonel Mustard) turn up to an old mansion where, soon enough, someone is murdered. Who did it? In what room? And with which weapon? (Yeah, you know the drill).

A fun but ultimately uncomplicated board game isn't much of a basis for a movie, right? Well, right. Clue is a very simple movie with not much of a plot at all. Fortunately, it's also something else: very funny. Clue takes itself spectacularly non-seriously, and produces a fast, frenetic, movie that (while not to everyone's taste) certainly appeals to some people, me included, and has become something of a cult favourite over the last twenty years.

The main thing that makes the movie so great is the sterling performance from Tim Curry as the butler, Wadsworth (“I'm merely a humble butler.” “And what exactly do you do?” “I buttle, sir.”). Clue is a glorious piece of high camp, and if anyone knows high camp, it's Tim Curry (as if we needed more proof than The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)!). Curry is wonderful as a kind of ringleader, traipsing the delightfully eclectic cast around the mansion and leading them through all kinds of verbal hoops, ridiculous physical comedy, even more ridiculous plots, and some of the most wonderfully bad puns you'll hear in your entire life.

Backing Curry up are some great names, most notably Michael McKean as Mr Green, Madeline Kahn as vampish Mrs White (“How many husbands have you had?” “Mine, or other women's?”), and the very funny Christopher Lloyd as Professor Plum, though they're far from the only ones. Each seems to have an absolute ball, playing up their cartoonish characters to within an inch of their lives and making Clue an absolute blast. The jokes alternate between brilliant and terrible, and will either make you laugh out loud or groan in disgust (or, in many cases, both). It's not exactly the collected works of Oscar Wilde, but nor is it supposed to be. In a way, it's quite vaudevillian: bad jokes told very well, almost a throwback to the old Abbott and Costello days (it's easy to imagine those two throwing around lines like “He had threatened to kill me in public!” “Why would he want to kill you in public?” “I think she meant he threatened, in public, to kill her.”).

A neat twist to Clue is the presence of three alternate endings, with very different results for the murder (well… murders. There are plenty by the end). On cinematic release, each theatre was given a print with one or the other ending; a stroke of genius meaning that two people who had seen the movie at different theatres would have no idea what the hell was going on when they swapped notes. On DVD, all three are available, with a little ‘but maybe this is what really happened’ between each one. This just serves to make the film even more fun: and that's probably the best word for it. It's not particularly clever, it's not ground-breaking, but it's bloody good fun. While it won't appeal to everyone, for those who have their senses of humour aligned just so, it's an absolute ball to watch. Also, if you're one of those annoying people who likes to quote movies all the time, Clue has plenty of great lines you'll be quoting for years (“Mrs Peacock was a man!?!”). What more could you ask for?

mino gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 3 Aug 2004

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Reader comments

  1. LOVE THIS MOVIE!!!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from John on Sun 08 May 2005 15:12 #

  2. the butler killed everyone

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from obie wan kenubee (http://www.ondeckskateboardshop.com) on Tue 23 Aug 2005 18:36 #

  3. I loved the movie Clue, I'm only 16 but I've watched since I was little. It's a family movie at my house. I laugh out loud whenever I watch it, Great Job guys

    A comment from Katie Reynolds on Fri 07 Oct 2005 02:45 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (2 ratings)

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