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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Comedy
Director: Kyle Newman
Cast: Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristen Bell, Carrie Fisher, Ray Park, Joe Lo Truglio, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams, Seth Rogen, Allie Grant, Christopher McDonald, William Shatner
RunTime: 1 hr 30 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16 (Sexual Humour)
Official Website: http://www.fanboys-themovie.com/

Opening Day: 26 March 2009


It's the Halloween party they've all been waiting for, to have fun with friends and hang out with fellow Star Wars fans and partners in crime. However, events take a turn when one of their bunch who long ago outgrew his old gang and took on adult responsibilities is suddenly in their midst again. Reconnecting is not easy. But soon, Eric, Windows, Hutch and Zoe realize that Linus will not live long enough to experience what's been on their minds for ages: The long-awaited theatrical release of Star Wars - Episode I, which is still several months away. Linus once again suggests to his friends what he's been scheming since fifth grade: Breaking into Skywalker Ranch, this time to steal a print of the movie. Crazy, right? But it might be the only way for Linus to see the movie before he dies. So as insane as it sounds, they take Hutch's van and embark on a mission to drive across half the country to the Ranch.

Movie Review:

It was just 6 months before the summer of `99, when the return of the Star Wars franchise in “The Phantom Menace” promised to send droves of adolescents to experience yet another development in iconic pop cultural phenomena (who knew that “The Matrix” would do the same to existentialism as “Star Wars” did to religion?) and adults on the cusps of mid-life crises back into their teenage obsessions. It was also a much simpler time for these groups of fans and self-professed geeks when the apparent off-kilter “Episode 1” of the slated prequel trilogy triggered more than few fissures in the Jedi denomination. Even the staunchest anti-revisionists could not say they weren’t curious for a peek, and it was just during this moment in history when “Fanboys” is set. 

A dying wish from Linus (Chris Marquette) to see the film before he passes brings about his three friends to plan a theft of “The Phantom Menace” workprint from George Lucas himself. The first step (and core premise) is getting to the famous Skywalker ranch in San Francisco from their native Ohio, which can only mean one thing – ROAD TRIP!!! It doesn’t augur much originality but that’s obviously not what’s on the agenda here. Set in the late 90s but purely in tuned with a pop cultural sensibility of the present – it name-drops, references films and videogames with complete abandon, reconfigures classic lines for cheap gags and, at times effectively features distinctive cameos by bringing into it a contemporary context as well as tapping into what it’s audiences know well. The well-worn battle royale of “Star Wars” vs. “Star Trek” fandom is revisited through biting observations (leave room in the future for fans of “Battlestar Galactica” and “Babylon 5”), though it’s never quite clear why the writers even think that the sci-fi nation has exclusive allegiances. 

For the most part “Fanboys” shines through as mildly affectionate male-bonding ritual, even if it never actually has a modicum of genuine wit or one true moment of emotion. The life-long pals around Linus – the obviously named computer nerd Windows (Jay Baruchel), the embarrassingly casual Hutch (Dan Fogler) and the reformed car salesman Eric (Sam Huntington) – represent the fanboy culture well but what elevates this motley ensemble is Zoe played by the irrepressible Kristen Bell of the short-lived cult favourite television series (and the obsession of many a fanboy and fangirl), “Veronica Mars”. She brings a zest and intelligence to a role that could have just been a prototypical fantasy of nerds instead of the full-fledged character that it becomes. 

For all its wry winks and elbow nudges by the filmmakers, “Fanboys” brings little to the table except for the acknowledgment of the glorious fanboy culture many of us abide in, whether we realise it or not. Its most exceptional quality remains that it does know its audience well, and will represent some aspect of this culture that some of us will recognise. 

Movie Rating:

(Standard comedic fare undercuts some great self-referential fun)

Review by Justin Deimen


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