“Wordplay” is…well…just about as exciting as a feature length movie about people solving crossword puzzles can be. Not very.
But, of course, there are going to be people out there who flip their s**t over this doc, namely crossword puzzle fanatics. For them, “Wordplay” will be hot, steamy porn. For others, watching people scribble furiously on a sheet of paper will be as exciting as watching paint dry.
“Wordplay” introduces us to several crossword puzzle experts,– those who obsess over them daily and those who create them, providing plenty of insight into this classic activity. Their interview footage leads us into the American Crossword Tournament where contestants from all over the country compete to be King of the puzzle solving nerds.
If this all sounds sorta familiar, it’s because you’re probably recalling past docs focusing on competitive activities and the geniuses partaking in them, utilizing the same format, namely “Spellbound” (spelling bees) and “Word Wars” (scrabble). Not that this is a bad thing, but, unlike “Spellbound” where the featured competition includes a sort of performance from its participants, a doc on crossword puzzles features, as stated before, people scribbling on sheets of paper…quietly. Yes, it is pretty amazing how good some of these guys are and it does take a tremendous amount of skill to finish these puzzles, correctly, in record time and I do appreciate the stress involved, but, as a movie, we’re all pretty much just watching people write.
To me, “Wordplay” isn’t the most thrilling spectacle, but for those curious as to the activity’s history, this quirky cast of characters provides all you want to know and more.