By Hogan Short
Almost exactly a year ago, the beloved show from Comedy Central, Workaholics, concluded with its seventh season. Workaholics was more than just a stoner comedy about three dim-witted telemarketing bros with a complete lack of self-awareness; the show brought quick-witted sketch-style comedy to the mundane lifestyles of underachievers who just want to have fun. Workaholics was beloved by girls and guys alike, whether they were in their teens, 20s, 30s, or even 50s. So when it was announced that the gang of Adam (Adam DeVine), Ders (Anders Holm), and Blake (Blake Anderson) would be back barely a year later with a Netflix film playing another trio of idiots, people let high hopes grow. If you were a fan of Workaholics, then their new film, Game Over, Man! (a play on Bill Paxton’s famous line from Aliens), is exactly what you have been missing. The film is Kyle Newacheck’s first feature-length credit as a director, who also co-created Workaholics and directed most of its episodes.
The premise of Game Over, Man! is simple: three underachieving, unintelligent housekeepers at a luxury hotel must stay alive and save the day when they get caught up in a hostage takeover. Newacheck, DeVine, Holm, and Anderson work together to collaborate on ideas.
“We all worked on it,” says Newacheck. “Anders is the writer, but we all work as a team when developing. That mushrooms episode from Workaholics was really great and inspired by Die Hard. Collectively, Die Hard is our favourite movie. So we said ‘Let’s make a Die Hard movie and make it funny.’ The stakes are really high and it’s life and death and you have these three stooges running around. Other producers came on, like Seth Rogen, and they have experience making these movies. They helped us with our emotional line with the three guys, they cleaned it up, added a few jokes. The four of us would take notes and then, as a director, that’s where I come in to figure out how we actually do this.”
Writing a film and getting it into production is always difficult enough, but this group’s style of comedy relies on being instinctually funny. Like Workaholics before it, Game Over, Man!’s laughs rely heavily on improv, and that requires a director who knows how to best capture spontaneity. This group has been working together for so long that the jokes and lines delivered throughout Game Over, Man! never feel forced and always elicit big laughs from its three stars.
“You don’t get that natural connection without improv and multiple cameras capturing it,” he says. “Back in the day, I just moved the camera while they improvised. It’s at the core of who we are. You can have scenes on the page and then the emotion isn’t necessarily there. When you put real friendship behind it, then you can start improvising the jokes.”
Since Game Over, Man! is set in a luxury hotel, it makes sense that there would be some celebrities staying there. This plot device is perfect for the inclusion of some unpredictable cameos, and casting celebrities to come together for a quick scene to play themselves is an interesting task.
“You would be happy to know that Shaggy was in from day one,” Newacheck laughs. “Poor Anders, he wrote and rewrote that script like eight times. Every single time, Shaggy has been in it, singing at gunpoint. It was relevant and perfect. He flew over from Jamaica. As soon as his headshot came up, everyone else started coming in, too. People like Steve-O, they just came out because they were fans.”
One thing fans know for sure about DeVine is that he is never afraid to take it all the way; DeVine seems to be the one most drawn to making a complete fool of himself for the sake of the scene. In Game Over, Man!, he goes where too few men have gone on film. His character not only goes full frontal, but close up and at every angle.
“Adam is just the guy who will do that,” says Newacheck. “I lived with him for seven years, and let’s just say he’s never been shy about his dick. It’s not a surprise to me at all that he would take it there. He is known to do that. It was a closed set. I was sitting there behind the camera right behind him and speaking quietly and seriously saying, very literally, okay, now loosen up.”
Newacheck’s character on Workaholics, Karl, was such a fan favourite that he could easily be the fourth member of their quartet. But while fans might hope for Newacheck to make an appearance in the film, for this project, he decided to stay in the director’s chair.
“I never considered putting myself in the film, but everyone else did,” he says. “For this one, there just wasn’t a role. Karl – that was me. I was so into it and I loved it. For this, I wanted to establish myself as a director.”
If you are someone who has never seen Workaholics, then Game Over, Man! is a great introduction to the group. If you love Workaholics and have seen every episode six times, depressed that no new episodes are coming, then consider this film a welcome reprieve. If you hate Workaholics, then this movie probably isn’t for you.
Game Over, Man! is available on Netflix now, right on time for 4/20.