Movie Review: Clue (1985)

They just don’t make mystery movies quite like they used to. CLUE is the type of whodunit that fully embraces the goofy comedy, witty jokes and dialogue where as nowadays that’s mostly been replaced with constant tension and incredibly dark themes. I won’t say that either style is right or wrong, but I happen to love a lot of tension in my mysteries. That being said I also love good comedy and CLUE mixes in a mystery into the funny proceedings and ultimately ends up being a very good time.

CLUE brings to life the classic Parker Bros. board game with a group of individuals all being brought together to bring an end to a long standing burden that each of them has been paying to keep quiet. Each individual is given an alias (Mr. Green, Miss Scarlet, and Professor Plum etc.) so that their real identities remain a secret. When they are presented with the source of their burden a murder occurs and they find out that the police are already on their way. The group must now work together to find the murderer who could be any one of them before the police arrive.

If nothing else CLUE has a pretty impressive group of actors and actresses assembled here. Each of them gets a great deal of screen time to charm or annoy the audience, Eileen Brennan as Mrs. Peacock filling the latter part of that bill. Lesley Ann Warren as Miss Scarlet was the funnest character to watch in my opinion with Michael McKean as Mr. Green following closely. Tim Curry plays the butler and he’s always great to watch minus the scene where he’s running around acting out every part of the movie we’ve already seen.

The mystery of course is the whole point of the movie and is done both good and bad. I enjoyed how things progressively got even stickier the more time went on for the group. I didn’t like how the screenplay felt like it was trying to be overly complicated towards the end especially during the completely unnecessary scene with Tim Curry running around like a chicken with his head cut off. When that scene began I found it humorous, but after the first minute or two it became incredibly annoying and frustrating.

I found it very fun that the film had multiple different endings and the choice to watch one at random or all of them at the end. I didn’t like any one of them more than the other but in general they all have some pretty interesting motivations. For a movie called CLUE I didn’t feel like I was able to actively participate in the mystery and it became evident when Tim Curry explains the course of events and pointing out things that even the audience probably wasn’t privy to at the time. This isn’t a major knock against the film though as I still really enjoyed it.

My favorite aspect of CLUE was its sense of humor, which ranged from goofy slapstick humor to more witty adult oriented jokes and dialogue. It also has some morbid happenings here and there as well with the mishandling of corpses and even a scene where characters are pretending to make out with the corpses. Given the light hearted nature of the film, these darker moments were made funnier because of how ridiculous the events are.

Today, CLUE is a little outdated, obviously, but anyone who grew up in the 80′s or has affection towards the classic board game should enjoy a little nostalgia. Only one scene stood out as annoying and an obnoxious bit of overkill, but overall I found CLUE to be a charming bit of retro fun. I don’t expect this type of formula to make a comeback anytime soon yet I wouldn’t complain if it did either.

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