If you’ve seen either Pineapple Express or Hot Fuzz, the premise of Game Over, Man!, produced by Seth Rogen, will feel instantly familiar. Like Pineapple Express, we follow some stonehead losers being dropped into the middle of an action movie and, like Hot Fuzz, the film bites its thumbs at that very genre’s conventions, from explosions to one liners. However, what separates Game Over, Man! from either of those films is… they’re funny.
One of a seemingly infinite number of films being released on Netflix in 2018, Game Over, Man! is a Die Hard parody from the people who brought you the Comedy Central hit series Workaholics, which starred Anders Holm, Blake Anderson and Adam DeVine. For a lot of people, that sentence alone will have already won them over to Game Over, Man!’s supposed charms.
When a luxury hotel becomes overrun by terrorists, led by Neal McDonough playing a Hans Gruber stand in, three hapless cleaners end up having to stand strong in order to take on the bad guys, save the hotel and tell lots of jokes about genitals. So many jokes about genitals. The amount of time our three antagonists talk about penises – whether their own or other people’s – leads you to think that this obsession is the very thing that led to them to the state of affairs they currently found themselves. Desperate for recognition in their own life time, they see battling terrorists as merely a way to encourage a multi-millionaire to invest in their latest video game invention. Said millionaire, Bae Awadi (Utkarsh Ambudkar), is equally abhorrent and happily tells people about his adventures in bestiality. These are people we’re supposed to root for, by the way.
Director Kyle Newacheck, who also worked on Workaholics, holds a firm grasp of the camera. Aping a lot of what made Die Hard the film we know and love, he appears to have a strong understanding of how best to make an action scene tick along. It’s just a shame it’s all drowned out by the homophobia, racism and, sigh, sexual assault jokes that litter the screen.
Admittedly, Holm’s screenplay (from a story by DeVine) tries to inject a character arc for each of our ‘heroes’ as the film progresses; the onslaught of violence supposedly makes them want to reevaluate their lives. Darren (Holm) battles a drug addiction which is enabled by Alexxx (DeVine), who sells him the very salvia he craves. Darren wants to be clean and Alexxx (no, it’s not a spelling mistake) needs to stop using his friends to his own advantage. Joel (Anderson), meanwhile, is struggling to come to terms with his own sexuality. A seemingly unusual sub-plot for an action movie, it quickly becomes apparent that Joel’s plight is an excuse for lashings of gay panic jokes whilst hiding behind a shield of ‘It’s just a joke, dude!’
And look, comedy is very subjective. Just because one person doesn’t raise a titter, it doesn’t mean no one else will. After all, it’s clear that everyone on screen is having a whale of a time. Particularly DeVine, whose brand of Jack Black-lite shenanigans grew tiresome around Pitch Perfect 2. In every scene he’s in, his lack of comedic restraint is like a black hole, sucking in whatever humour is available in the scene and ruining it for others. And as I can’t emphasise enough, there is very little humour to begin with. So when he runs around trouser less, like a character in a 1970s British sitcom, you’re left wondering who benefits from this? The viewer or DeVine? It’s DeVine, isn’t it?
Shallow, offensive and unbelievably smug, Game Over, Man!’s biggest issue may be the threat of a sequel in its closing minutes.
THE REEL WORD: 2/10