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Clue, 1985

At a remote mansion in the countryside, a group of visitors known only by pseudonyms are welcomed to a dinner party by the mansion's butler, Wadsworth (Tim Curry). The guests include Mrs. Peacock (Eileen Brennan), Mrs. White (Madeline Kahn), Miss Scarlet (Lesley Ann Warren), Professor Plum (Christopher Lloyd), Colonel Mustard (Martin Mull), and Mr. Green (Michael McKean). Their host, Mr. Boddy (Lee Ving), has been blackmailing all of the guests. But when Mr. Boddy turns up dead, the group must figure out who committed the murder, and how.

I'm sure it's an inauspicious start to a review to say that this was my third attempt at watching this film. Finally making it to the end credits, I can say that I enjoyed the movie overall but was repeatedly reminded about why it had failed to grip me the first two times.

On the positive side, this is a very silly movie that knows that it is a very silly movie. And when it nails that silliness in the right way, it makes for some pretty hilarious moments both big and small. Things like the group arriving to find a dead body--dead bodies pile up rather rapidly in this film--and just all silently backing out together. Or the way that Mr. Green, established as being gay, deadpans "No thanks" when the busty maid (Colleen Camp) asks for someone to accompany her in a search of the house.

This silliness owes almost all of its success to the all-in performances from the cast, particularly Curry who serves effectively as the MC for everything that takes place. But lots of credit also goes to the rest of the cast--and my favorite, Lesley Ann Warren--for bringing their characters to this sweet spot of being borderline cartoons. For the most part the film manages to be kind of wild without ever getting manic.

But however much I enjoyed the film, I didn't love it. The characters are entirely caricatures, and for me that's a little hard to stick with for 90+ minutes. It's also not really a mystery, as the story is a series of setpieces as opposed to something where we get actual relevant clues or information.

I'm happy that I was finally able to watch the film and get on board with its sensibilities. I can see why this is a favorite for some people. This is the kind of movie that, if it's on as you're flipping through the channels, you stop and watch.