Game Over, Man

Year: 2018
Production Co: Point Grey Productions
Studio: Netflix
Director: Kyle Newachek
Writer: Anders Holm/Kyle Newacheck/Adam Devine/Blake Anderson
Cast: Anders Holm, Kyle Newacheck, Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, Daniel Stern, Andrew Bachelor, Neal McDonough, Rhona Mitra, Shaggy, Jillian Bell, Mark Cuban

Another one it seems Netflix bankrolled after cleaning out the vending machines in its staff kitchen at the end of the week. I only watched it because there were some laughs in the trailer and after Adam Devine (the hero from When We First Met) didn't irritate me to the point of self-immolation, I thought I might get something out of it.

As you expect, it's all in the set pieces and character banter. The plot, structure, arcs and motivations are all lattices onto which Devine riffs with costars Anders Holm as Darren and Blake Anderson as Joel. The three of them wield a much cheaper, more modern Marx Brothers vibe with the gossipy, confrontational, sweary repartee, and that's where you can find the (small) amount of pleasure to be found in this movie.

Think of Horrible Bosses – which was a similarly stupid idea but which worked simply because of the charismatic bond Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman and Charlie Day seemed to project. Devine, Holm and Anderson aren't as good, but there is enough of that to keep you interested.

Still, as soon as the story moves into more plot driven territory like a climax that's necessarily about running and shooting more than characters riffing, it's not nearly as enjoyable.

Alexxx (Devine), Darren and Joel are cleaners at a swanky hotel in downtown Los Angeles who dream of being videogame designers and have a prototype of an immersive VR application they're ready to show investors. With a spoiled rich boy tech maven attending a swanky party that night, they might have their chance.

Except that a group of slick terrorists led by Conrad (Neal McDonough, who hasn't been in a decent project since Band of Brothers) swoop in to lock the place down and hold guests hostage to extract a ransom.

The guys find themselves locked inside and have no choice but to battle it out against a bloodthirsty group of goons to get everyone out and win the day. It's the cheapest, corniest parody of Die Hard and the movie makes no apologies about it, director Kyle Newachek (who co-writes with the three leads) chucking any dumb idea at the screen for a laugh no matter how sexually perverse or camp-CGI bloody.

As soon as you look away from the three heroes and lose any residual interest in how they'll save the day you realise there's too much going on in the background, from Daniel Stern as a slimy hotel manager to a buttoned down assistant manager, a pair of musclebound gay villain's henchmen and way, way more.

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