Hey folks, Valkor here. Has anyone ever played the Parker Brother's game "Clue"? It was a board game where players solved the mystery of who murdered Mr. Boddy by deducing which of the zany characters did it, in what room, and where. And In 1985 a film version of the game was produced (directed by Jonathan Lynn), which starred Tim Curry and featured multiple endings on who killed Boddy. What does that have to do with this review? Well what if you took a similar premise involving a handful of wacky-named characters, set it inside of a bank, where the characters attempt to figure out a murder but it blows up into a conspiracy? Then you've got "Flypaper", an action/mystery/comedy directed by Rob Minkoff that really brings the funny.
Flypaper starts out simple enough; Tripp (Patrick Dempsey) enters a bank to make change, hits it up with bank teller Kaitlin (Ashley Judd) and suddenly the two, along with everyone in the bank are caught up in the middle of a bank robbery – by two sets of bank robbers no less. One set is a sophisticated bunch who also locks down the bank: Darrien (Mehki Phifer), Weinstein (John Ventimiglia), and Gates (Matt Ryan). The second are a couple of hillbilly, low-end types who call themselves Peanutbutter (Tim Blake Nelson) and Jelly (Pruitt Taylor Vince)… because Milk and Cookies were taken (they say this in the movie, I'm not kidding). The two sets of gunmen confront one another and bullets start to fly. During the cross fire a lone man gets shot and Tripp comes to his rescue. Unfortunately the guy dies, however Tripp is able to get the robbers to agree to rob the same bank – Weinstein's group goes for the Vault and PB&J takes the ATMs. Tripp also steals the dead man's wallet to gain his identity – Jack Hayes (Tamara Stuparich De La Barra), to which he begins his neurotic search as to why Jack was killed, because it doesn't appear he was killed by accident. The situation starts to blow up when it is later revealed that things aren't what they seem and it's no mere coincidence why everyone was in the bank that day, with it all being pieced together by Tripp who uses a Sherlock Holmes-esque wit to deduce who's really behind it all.
No serious, watch this clip! He acts exactly like this:
There are so many twists and turns in this comedy that it'll make your head spin - but through it all you'll have a lot of fun. But I'll save that kinda talk for the TOV Breakdown.
I was really surprised by Flypaper; I was expecting some sort of intense crime drama, so imagine my surprise when it's a comedy - and a really funny one at that. This is the kinda comedy you can't take seriously; it's very cartoony in nature with wacky character names like "Swiss Miss", "Mr. Clean", even "Peanutbutter and Jelly", stupid shootouts (not many people get directly hit and most are killed off screen), and a nice dose of slapstick littered throughout. The film's premise is very clever, moves at frantic pace, but not too fast that you can't keep up and it's a nice mix of action and comedy that will hold attention and make the films 90 minute runtime just fly by. Acting standouts go out to Tim Nelson and Pruitt Vince as rednecks Peanutbutter and Jelly who are a crack up; these two are the reason why you'll sit through this film because they will have you rolling. But you gotta love Patrick Dempsey's neurotic problem solver Tripp. I haven't seen this cat in good while and he still lookin pretty smooth. I also love the chemistry between him and Ashley Judd's "Katlin Nest" and really, who can hate on Judd huh? She's just too damn adorable! Here she puts on a wonderful performance as a sarcastic bank teller, though I wish she had a few extra scenes because whenever she's on screen she shines. Mehki Phifer is the straight man in this picture and completely nails his role. Great job all around!
The plot, while engaging and funny, is also quite predictable. You'll easily be able to tell whodunnit once all the pieces start to come together... which is about midway into the film. I also wish the producers had taken the Clue route and gone with multiple endings, which would have only added to the fun (would have also made a nice extra on the BD). Finally I really didn't care how the mystery of who masterminded the entire scenario was solved. I mean I get it, but I think it could have played out better.
Gates says to Tripp, while pointing a gun at him "Hakuna Matata, motherfucker!" Sure Rob Minkoff directed "The Lion King", but… was that line really necessary? Really?
With a film like Flypaper, you need only check your brain at the door as this action/comedy (with a heavy dose of mystery) will have you holding your sides with laughter. With a fun premise, stellar performances, and loads of laugh puts Flypaper high on my must see list, which is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD. And out of TOV 5 stars I give Flypaper a 3.5.