Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell
Directed By: Kyle Newman
Rating: 4 out of 10
4 longtime friends go on a quest to watch Star Wars: The Phantom Menace before it is officially released.
There is no movie franchise in history more quoted, referenced, spoofed, joked about, mocked, and beloved then Star Wars. Everyone and their mother have made a movie or television show paying tribute to one of the most successful franchises in history. So when I have to watch another comedic venture where Star Wars was the main theme I wasn’t thrilled. As it turns out my fears were well founded as this film relies too heavily on stale jokes and references. Fanboys is the story of four friends who travel across the country to break into the Skywalker ranch owned by director George Lucas. Their goal: to find a copy of episode 1 the Phantom Menace and watch it before it is released to the public.
The film starts and instantly it is clear this film is going to reference Star Wars at every possible instance. A Halloween party where the guys dress as Darth Vader and Storm Troopers shows the extent of the films scope and depth of its comedy. This film can be easily summed up by calling it a weaker version of the T.V. show the Big Bang Theory. Its main focus is Star Wars but it uses a liberal dose of other nerd mediums like Star Trek, X-Men, and Mario Kart, along with many others. Now the film does have some funny moments like calling out “Chewy” for the front passenger seat instead of Shotgun. Or when they hit a gay bar called Mantina but at the end of the day the film is just chalk fill of missed opportunities. The guys wear Star Wars clothes, quote Star Wars lines, drive a Star Wars van modeled after the Millennium Falcon, and find themselves in Star Wars related predicaments, the only thing they don’t find themselves doing is making the viewer laugh.
The acting is standard for comedy but no one really stands up and takes charge. The four pals are believable as friends but offer nothing to make this film work. Dan Fogler plays one of the friends named Hutch. I am not sure where this guy got his comedic roots from but he is terrible in everything he does (See Balls of Fury.) He is like a modern day Booger from Revenge of the Nerds. He tries to get women to take off their clothes by using Jedi mind tricks but all the viewer will feel is pity not mirth. Kristen Bell plays the unofficial fifth nerd in the group because she is obviously a girl. She is an odd fit for the film because it is rare to see attractive ladies in this genre (although it can be forgiven for her Princess Leia bikini). The cameos though made this film score a little higher on the rating scale. The film is riddled with iconic characters from various franchises and while I won’t ruin who it is they pop up quite frequently.
Even as I am writing this and as I look back on my review I realize this film is only going to cater to Star Wars aficionados. I cannot see it working for anyone else as it is going for a very specific target audience. The films road trip adventure sees the guys make unscheduled pit stops as they travel cross country. They run into obvious snafus and are bailed out by unlikely scenarios. As the group makes their way to the Skywalker ranch the film breaks down into confused situations of stupid dialogue and random character encounters. The film also has a very serious and sad underlying storyline that kind of darkens the film and spoils a lot of the comedy. Yes the film is easy to watch and I would say it may even appeal to some people but it never really hits that funny level to make it work.
It seems Director Kyle Newman made this film because he could not because he was going for gold. I don’t know his motivation behind shooting this but it is clear this is not shot for the masses. Which is fine sometimes but this film just keeps hammering unfunny Star Wars jargon at the viewer and it gets old. The film is a jumble of random shot scenes culminating in a mess of an ending. I was shocked Jar Jar didn’t show up at some point to seal the deal.
I cannot recommend this film as it is too nerd specific and makes me like Star Trek a little more at this moment.
T Factor + If you like Star Wars this could score higher on the rating scale.
T Factor – If you do not like Star Wars this could score lower on the rating scale.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Spaceballs