By Marc S. Sanders
Mr. Green – Michael McKean
Mrs. Peacock – Eileen Brennan
Miss Scarlett – Leslie Ann Warren
Colonel Mustard – Martin Mull
Mrs. White – Madeline Kahn
Professor Plum – Christopher Lloyd
With Wadsworth the Butler (Tim Curry) who “Buttles!” and Yvette the Maid (Colleen Camp).
The roles and who portrays them are the most important thing to follow in the film adaptation of the board game Clue. After that, it’s the ridiculous farce. Motivations and vague connections among the characters are spit out with rapidity by Curry’s zany Wadsworth, the buttler Butler. He’s the real star of the show but every actor makes their own variation of hilarity.
All of them have been summoned for dinner on a dark and stormy night at Mr. Boddy’s mansion. They have been specifically instructed to identify themselves by the colorful moniker documented in their invitations. None of them know each other or Mr. Boddy. Or do they????? Hmmmm!!!
Once they are there, dinner is served accompanied by Yvette’s physical attributes that express themselves quite well in her French Maid’s uniform. Soon after, the board game’s well known weapons (lead pipe, candlestick, revolver, wrench and so on) present themselves and then Boddy turns up dead in the library. Naturally, the players must explore the other well known rooms in the creepy mansion including the kitchen, the billiard room and conservatory to uncover what’s happened…even though he’s dead in the library already.
Eventually, and because the film is fast approaching it’s 90 minute mark, Wadsworth begins to manically explain who the murderer is and how and where it was done. Oh yeah! Other unfortunates have turned up dead as well, including a policeman and a singing telegram.
Clue is on the zany level of Airplane! and The Naked Gun. John Landis co-wrote the film with director Jonathan Lynn and honestly, they could not do anything wrong with the picture as long as they kept everything completely stupid for the sake of comedy. All of the players lend to that ridiculousness going so far as to even pose with the dead corpses to mask the fact that they are truly expired. No matter that the cook has a dagger in her back.
The famous board game is rightly honored even with the square tiled floor in the hall and the secret passages that connect the rooms. Agatha Christie mysteries are targets though too. The assembly of these legendary comedians, who were all pretty much established by the time Clue was released in 1985, know how to find one of Christie’s personality suspects and springboard off of that for great gags.
Look, best I can tell you is don’t pay much attention to whatever motives are rambled about. The visuals are what’s important. Watch how ridiculous Tim Curry gets as he tries to keep this game all in order. Though a sense of order should never be expected. You’ll realize that early on after the Butler accidentally steps in dog poop, and the most important thing over the next five minutes is watching each player sniff for what is that awful aroma. It sounds silly. It sounds immature, but that’s what is specifically fun about the film.