Game Over, Man! is a comedy vacuum; not just because it totally sucks (which is does), but also because this Netflix original seems to have pulled everyone involved into its utter void of anything that could be called funny. Honestly, it’s not the type of film that usually merits a full review because A.) ten years ago treacle like it would’ve been safely relegated to direct-to-video bins (think all those forgettable American Pie spin-offs) and B.) the demographic for crap like this probably doesn’t care about – or read – reviews anyway.
It’s Die Hard meets Airheads, only with a less talented cast, story, and complete lack of self-awareness of just how painfully bad everything is. Adam DeVine, Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm star as three losers with big dreams of working in the videogame industry with their body-mounted controller called – wait for it – the Skintendo Joysuit. It’s the future, at least one where 2010-era flops like the Xbox Kinect and movie Gamer at least felt like the future.
Only they live in the present, working as housekeepers at a ritzy hotel. Their plan is simple: pitch the project to uber-rich, spoiled internet celebrity brat Bay Awadi (Utkarsh Ambudkar) and convince him into investing.
Things get more complicated when a group of terrorists led by Neal McDonough and Rhona Mitra (both slumming for a check) take hostages and demand Awadi transfer millions of his rich daddy’s money into their account. Now it’s up to the bumbling stoner idiots to not only survive the blood-soaked siege but each other’s shenanigans as well.
More than anything, the real failure of Game Over, Man! lay with positioning Adam DeVine as any sort of leading man or star comedian. He seems to be doing the world’s worst Jack Black impression, only without the benefit of being a fat guy in underwear. He’s so naturally uncharismatic and fundamentally unappealing and that I’m genuinely embarrassed for those better comedians forced to second-fiddle under him. Twenty years ago we had to live through Pauly Shore and even Adam Sandler was able to eventually turn shit into schtick, so stay strong.
Most of the blame should go to to director Kyle Newacheck, graduating from bad TV to full-blown bad feature-film comedy here. Along with DeVine, he brings his Workaholics buddies Blake Anderson and Anders Holm along for a trainwreck of catastrophic proportions.
It’s not so much written as assembled from stale memes and lame pop references that were dated long before the movie dropped, to say nothing of the desperate celebrity cameos (how the hell did they get Mark Cuban?). The script is little more than lame characters trading even lamer barbs at each other, as though The Office’s Kelly Kapoor executive-produced the thing. Come to think of it, Mindy Kaling was responsible for writing some of the worst episodes of that show’s worst seasons and Ambudkar is a vet from The Mindy Project…hmm.
There are moments smarter writers might’ve included commentary on internet celebrity nonsense or gaming culture. Nope. It’s just dope, dicks, and dopes. Was I surprised to see Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg in the producer credits? Not really, though as with their marginally better Hulu show Future Man they seem incapable of allowing fans to ‘get’ the jokes they’re riffing on without hand-holding and over-exposition.
There’s a few bright spots in the muck: Veep’s Sam Richardson has the film’s best line about not being “the black nerd from Die Hard” and Steve Howey (Shameless) as an unfortunate Skintendo beta-tester in somewhat inspired. That’s about it.
It also looks unbelievably cheap, especially when all the copious blood-squibbing is handled via lame CGI gore. And poor Daniel Stern, doomed to work with Newacheck again in the future, forced to interact with a prop severed penis that looks more like a pork tenderloin than anything remotely phallic. I bring this up only because this is the same movie that’s pleased as punch to show actual male nudity for laughs (to be fair, Jason Segel did it much better a decade ago in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).
It’s modern “woke comedy” where sexism is totally verboten yet rampant homophobia and mockery is still up for grabs; gross male sexual assault is played for yucks and there’s F-bombs aplenty, and I’m not talking about fudge.
Fans of Workaholics deserve better than this…or maybe they don’t. As crass and stupid as Game Over, Man! is, there’s a place for stoner comedies like it, and Netflix remains the ideal home for them. Better editing and writing might’ve made it at least a marginally entertaining gross-out comedy, other than a completely disposable and embarrassing credit on actors’ IMDB pages. Part of the healing process would include acknowledging that Adam DeVine shouldn’t be fronting your movie, a fact I’m sure the next few years should make abundantly clear.