Thursday, August 4, 2016

Movie Review: "Fanboys" (2009)

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Movie: "Fanboys"
Director: Kyle Newman
Year: 2009
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

A group of Star Wars geeks take their terminally ill friend on a cross-country road trip to break into Skywalker Ranch and see "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" before it is released in theaters.

"Fanboys" is a road trip comedy directed by Kyle Newman. It stars Jay Baruchel, Sam Huntington, Kristen Bell, Chris Marquette, and Dan Fogler, who play a group of friends and Star Wars fanatics. Since graduating high school, Eric, played by Sam Huntington, has grown apart from the rest of the group. He gave up his dreams of being a comic book artist to work at his dad's car dealership so he could start making money in order to grow up. His friends have done the opposite, virtually remaining the same people they were in high school regardless of whether or not they still live in their parents garage. Eric reconnects with his old high school chums at a Halloween party and soon learns his childhood best friend Linus, played by Chris Marquette, has been diagnosed with cancer and all treatments have failed. Eric gets together with Windows and Hutch, played by Baruchel and Fogler, and they decide to enact a plan they thought up in elementary school. They are going to make the arduous cross-country drive to California so they can break into Skywalker Ranch. Their purpose for doing this? To get their hands on a copy of "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" before it's released in theaters so Linus can see it before he dies.

This sets the stage for a wild road trip situation full of pop culture references about Star Wars, the opposing Star Trek fandom, and many other geektastic cultural elements. A rivalry exists in this film between Star Wars fanboys and 'Trekkers' because 'Trekkies' is now apparently considered derogatory. Whenever any of the main characters come across a Star Trek admirer, they immediately berate them and attempt to send them on their way. En route to Skywalker ranch, they even take a detour to the hometown of Captain James T. Kirk in an effort to chide Trekkers and instigate a fight to see which fandom comes out on top. That's what "Fanboys" does best: it panders to the nerd elite, people who know Chewbacca's home planet and Luke Skywalker's call sign off the top of their heads. For those who aren't big on dork lore and oddball science fiction references, well, this might not be the movie for you. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments within this short film, as well as a lot of awkward situations that are uncomfortably funny. Plus, there are a plethora of great, appropriate cameos and bit parts from the likes of Ray Park, Will Forte, Craig Robinson, Carrie Fisher, William Shatner, Billy Dee Williams, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, and Danny McBride. Obviously many of the cameos include references to Star Wars, Star Trek, and nerd and comic book culture in general, which makes it all the more appropriate and hilarious. Seth Rogen also has a set of cameos that are undeniably genius and will have you rolling on the ground with laughter.

We remember a time before the internet turned the Star Wars fandom into a mainstream phenomenon, way back when loving the franchise made you just a dork and not part of the cool crowd. This movie captures that sentiment, even if it's somewhat poking fun at it, too. Some might see this film as merely another product mooching off of the already established markers of geek culture, but we don't think so. If anything, it's an appreciation piece showcasing the devotion fans have for things like Star Wars, Star Trek, and the actors, characters, and settings within these series. We really enjoy "Fanboys," especially as lifelong Star Wars lovers and even as casual Star Trek fans. If you fancy yourself a devotee of any of the aforementioned geek or nerdy cultures, you probably will, too.

My Rating: 8/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 32%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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