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The Streaming Pile: ‘Game Over, Man!’

This week, in the bottom of the bin, we found the vulgar, celebrity-cameo-filled Netflix original film made by the ‘Workaholics’ guys

Netflix/Ringer illustration

With billions across the globe (hopefully) doing their part to stay at home to flatten the curve, people suddenly have a lot of time on their hands—and no new sporting events or movies to entertain them. There has never been a better chance to check out that book you’ve always been meaning to read, or finally chip away at your bloated Netflix queue. But while Netflix has a lot of quality content at its disposal, the streamer doesn’t exactly have a flawless critical record—you don’t spend billions on original programming without releasing a crapload of duds. And so, to help distract you during these stressful and unprecedented times, I will be navigating the bowels of Netflix’s original movie library every week to find the worst of the worst. This recurring column will continue until it is safe to go outdoors or my resolve breaks; whichever comes first. Our journey continues with Game Over, Man!

There are certain, blessed films so absurd that it’s easy to imagine that they were green-lit by a studio executive who’s essentially Tom Cruise’s character in Tropic Thunder and written by some dudes stoned out of their minds in a basement. But this image, delightful as it may be, is more meme than reality. With the exception of Hollywood’s coke-fueled ’80s, this probably isn’t how movies are made—though Game Over, Man! might be an exception to the rule.

Starring Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, and Anders Holm—or as I like to call him, Alternate Universe Ansel Elgort—of Comedy Central’s Workaholics fame, this Netflix original film is right in the comedians’ wheelhouse. If you aren’t familiar with Workaholics, that wheelhouse is best described as fratty humor replete with physical gags and more dick jokes than you can count.

I truly mean no shade to Devine, Anderson, and Holm—they know what they’re good at and have stuck with it, like Vin Diesel coming to terms with the fact that he’s synonymous with Dominic Toretto. But it’s best to appreciate the trio’s stoner-bro humor—if it’s even something you’d find amusing; it’s an acquired taste—when you aren’t stone-cold sober. Which is to say: If you’re going to watch Game Over, Man!, I recommend not doing it at 9 in the morning on a workday after eating a bowl of oatmeal. (Pair it with an edible, some wine; ideally both.) I’ve made a terrible mistake.

The plot—a generous term—of Game Over, Man! is basically Die Hard for Dummies. (The title of the film is also a play on the late Bill Paxton’s iconic line from Aliens but has no discernible connection to the movie’s story; this is just one of countless WTF choices on display here.) Devine, Anderson, and Holm are three housekeepers at a luxury hotel with dreams of getting rich from one of their many harebrained, Shark Tank–esque ideas. But the guys mostly spend their days flinging used condoms at each other and getting high off of salvia. On the night that an Instagram influencer they refer to as the “Bey of Tunisia” is attending a big party on the hotel’s roof, some generic bad guys hold everyone hostage and demand $500 million from the mogul’s bank account. Naturally, the Workaholics trio manage to escape the party—but they have no way of getting out of the building. They’ll need to John McClane their way through the night.

That’s where any semblance of logic ends; Game Over, Man! is, without hyperbole, one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen. Netflix has a reputation for being hands-off—creators can do what they want with little oversight. While I’m skeptical about how much space the streamer actually gives its collaborators, it’s hard to imagine Game Over, Man! went through any kind of studio note-making process. There is a long sequence where the Bey of Tunisia is forced by his aggrieved personal assistant—he’s the Hans Gruber of this enterprise—to eat the ass of a hostage. The Bey defiantly, and enthusiastically, obliges. The hostage is terrified but then, suddenly, he’s really into it. (Desus and Mero have to watch this movie.)

But anilingus is just the tip of Game Over, Man!’s lewd humor. I cannot stress how much penis is in this movie. Dicks are severed; thrown across rooms; used in auto-erotic asphyxiation–related distraction ploys. The profusion of penis is so overwhelming it should have gotten fourth billing on the movie’s poster. But while dick jokes can be funny in the right context—the auto-erotic asphyxiation moment made me genuinely LOL—Game Over, Man! really begins to beat a dead horse with, well, you know. If Die Hard exists in its own cinematic universe, then Game Over, Man! has one, as well: it’s a world where every guy is trapped in the college-aged version of themselves. Seriously, there’s a scene where the bad guys kill an old security guard, who is caught off guard in part because he is distracted by watching a woman twerk on his phone.

The amount of full frontal and gore—sadly, that includes a chihuahua getting blown to bits, and even in the context of this dumb-as-bricks movie I hate seeing animals die—has made it really difficult to make GIFs, which are an essential part of this column. (It’s fun to show and tell when something is this absurd.) Really, the only things I can share that wouldn’t get me in trouble with HR for making The Ringer a NSFW website is the preposterous amount of celebrity cameos in Game Over, Man!. Fred Armisen, Action Bronson, Joel McHale, Flying Lotus, Steve-O, Chris Pontius, Donald Faison, and Mark Cuban all have appearances—some of which are more memorable than others. Flying Lotus’s head explodes, and Action Bronson shows up for 15 seconds and obliterates some appetizers:

But the single best moment of the film is a cameo from Shaggy, forced by this movie’s Gruber to perform “It Wasn’t Me” at gunpoint. Shaggy wants to sing the song he dedicated to Haiti, because “It Wasn’t Me” isn’t, quote, “appropriate.” (In his defense, he just saw Donald Faison get shot in the face.) What transpires is definitely the weirdest rendition of the song, ever, and whatever they had to pay Shaggy to show up in Game Over, Man! was definitely worth it:

But for all the mileage the movie gets out of the celebrity cameos—and the mileage it tried to get from all the dick gags—after a while the excessive inanity will just make you numb. Workaholics works in part because you’re getting the trio’s humor in only 23-minute blocks; stretching those punch lines out into a feature-length film is not what you want. (Unless the edibles have hit, of course.) By the time we get to the climax, when the trio uses their patented idea for a full-bodysuit video game experience (the “Skintendo Joysuit”) to turn a dead henchman into a zombie with spa stones for fists, I was the one saying “game over, man” in a defeated tone. I wanted—needed—to Bill-Paxton-in-Aliens myself out of the experience, and my decision to start this column in the first place.

Thankfully, the movie does clock in at less than 100 minutes—it could’ve been a lot worse. There were some solid laughs in between the cocks, and perhaps the best one of all is the brazen implication at the end that there will be a maritime sequel:

Sorry man, I think it’s game over.