Gatlopp: Hell of a Game review – supernatural board game thread is low-budget Jumanji | Movies

A Akin to Jumanji, this film centers on a supernatural board game that its four protagonists must win before sunrise to avoid being trapped for eternity into playing it. It’s to director Alberto Belli’s credit that his comedy generated much of the fun of the 1995 film on a fraction of the budget. Decidedly only for players 16+, like all great board games, Gatlopp gives a vague impression of imparting meaningful life wisdom, but in fact it’s mostly about making sure everyone gets through. the best time possible.

After his wife cheats on him, Los Angeleno Paul (Jim Mahoney) is in the process of finalizing his divorce and temporarily moving in with bestie Cliff (Jon Bass). Wanting to cheer up his pal, Cliff invites their old racing buddies Sam (Emmy Raver-Lampman), a bulldozing producer, and his ex Troy (Sarunas J Jackson), an actor who treads water on the racetrack. The band’s old chemistry is falling apart – so Cliff suggests they release Gatlopp (“gauntlet” in Swedish), a dusty old entertainment he found in his second-hand credenza drawer and can’t find a single Internet reference. Soon Cliff gets an arrow in the leg for lying in a dare, and the foursome realize they’re playing something more hardcore than Monopoly.

The script, by Mahoney, vividly introduces the players and revels in their villainous rapport; Particularly conversant with the snakes and ladders of LA social life, he gives Paul a beautifully cynical and blind rant on Hollywood pushiness to buyers of his new home. Too bad then, with these quarrelsome townspeople trapped in this sardonic challenge, that the film finally takes them on a moralizing track: a story of secret infidelity and lessons in self-knowledge. But Belli’s smooth direction – reminiscent of Edgar Wright’s pop ‘n’ snap – keeps his energy levels high as he strolls through the living room which is his main location; he also exults in the occasional set piece, like the players’ Jazzercise routine. There aren’t enough of these goofy sequences, but with a bigger budget, you can feel the franchise’s potential here.

Gatlopp: Hell of a Game hits digital platforms June 27.