Was it Mrs. White with the candlestick or Mr. Green with the revolver? I always sucked at Clue the board game because I never jumped to conclusions. Hasty conclusions and hysterical confusion, however, are the backbone of Clue the movie. Who did it, with what, and where, are the three questions raised by six strangers, a butler, and a French maid. All your favourites are there: Miss Scarlett (the saucy minx), Col. Mustard (the war hero), and even Miss Peacock (the prune with a stick up her tail feathers). Our six favourite pawns are invited to a mysterious dinner party where they soon discover that the final delayed guest, Mr. Body, is their mutual blackmailer. After multiple accusations and a sudden power outage, the late Mr. Body becomes the late Mr. Body, and the party turns into a race to figure out who killed him, why, and who’s next.
Clue is a comedic masterpiece, weeping cheesy suspense from every crevice. Lightning flashes when mysteries arise, the two-or-thee-note soundtrack (full of “Dun Dun Duuun!”s and “Bom Bom!”s) chimes in right on cue, and every line in the movie is either delivered like a valuable piece of the puzzle or like a Who’s on First paradox. The hilarity is in the sarcasm and the joyously outdated over-acting that only the ‘80s could deliver. But who did it? Who’s the guilty culprit? The great thing about playing the board game is that it’s not always Mrs. White. The movie embraces that novelty and takes a page out of a choose-your-own-adventure book, giving the viewer three different endings to pick from. On the DVD you can either select a random ending or choose to see all three dramatic reveals. Each one is totally probable, albeit graspy and perplexing.
The plot is a muddled extravaganza, with various strangers getting mixed up in the murderous mess, including a stranded traveller, a policeman, and a singing telegram. The actors, however, stay true to their shady, vintage counterparts and try their darndest to keep straight faces. The cast includes 1980s stars, Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren, and Michael McKean, to name a few. Clue looks like it was a genuinely fun movie to work on, and I assume a few takes were cut short to hide the cast’s inevitable laughter. When lines like, “You mean – Oh my God of course” are delivered not with shock but with deadpan this-night-will-never-end gusto, or when there are closing proclamations like, “I’m gonna go home and sleep with my wife!” you have to believe that the cast must have snickered their way through nearly every scene. Clue is like Monty Python if it were made into a board game and then adapted into a movie.
There’s not much to say about the set, the wardrobe, or the cinematography. This isn’t a movie with sparkly effects or CGI hamsters. Clue is raw, dead-faced comedy with bodies falling out of closets and more shattered glass than my kitchen when I belt out the high notes. It doesn’t matter if the conclusions are farfetched; it only matters that there’s a butler named Wadsworth, a French maid named Yvette, six beloved game pieces come to life, and one dead Body. Clue is a pandemonium of 8 brouhahas out of 10.