Sunday, March 13, 2016

Movie #349: Fanboys

Fanboys is road movie/comedy starring Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell, Sam Huntington, Christopher Marquette, and Jay Baruchel (plus a bunch of cameos, including Seth Rogen, Carrie Fisher, and William Shatner).

Eric (Huntington) rejoins his high school posse of Star Wars fanboys at a party, where we learn he's become estranged. He used to be a comic artist, now he's working at his father's car dealership and thinks he's "grown up." He then learns that his best friend Linus (Marquette) is dying of cancer - he's got maybe four months to live. That means, among other things, that he won't live to see the premiere of The Phantom Menace. His other buddies, the nerdy and awkward Windows (Baruchel) and the loud and obnoxious Hutch (Fogler) just want to see these two besties reconcile. Oh, and Zoe (Bell...wait, Zoe Bell? no) is there, too, playing the role of Fangirl; she actually starts off as fairly awesome, but...well, I'll get there.

The friends decide to go on a cross-country road trip, break into Skywalker Ranch, and steal a print of Episode I before it's released. They do so by way of Riverside, IA, where they get into a brawl with a bunch of Trekkies; Vegas, where they brawl the same Trekkies plus a Star Wars-loving pimp (Rogen), and, like, a hospital where they meet a doctor who gives Linus medicine and sends him on his mission (Fisher).

Finally they make it, sneak in, get caught, and Linus is allowed to see the movie. Cut to next year, where the four of them that remain (Linus has passed on) finally see the movie in theaters, and we end on Eric asking "what if it sucks?" Yeah, what if.

This movie is actually pretty funny. It's got a great cast, though I think Marquette and Huntington look a little too similar. There's some humor that really could have been jettisoned (there's a rape joke that really didn't need to be there, although it's aimed at men, which is at, I got nothing).

I have issues with Bell's character. At first, she's part of the gang - she's very much a nerd like the rest of them, she keeps up with their stupid quote-based dialog just fine, and she has no problem shutting down Hutch's sexual harassment (that it exists at all is an issue, but eh). But then her whole character arc becomes "is in love with Windows." I feel a little better in that she pursues him, but it still winds up being about him because he gets the "oh, shit, the girl of my dreams is right there!" Snore.

The movie leans a little too heavily on "nerds are horny but sexless dudes who have no idea how sex works, but nerd girls have to know everything about nerd things and about sex" tropes, but I guess it's something that they acknowledge that nerd girls exist at all? I think the movie would have greatly improved by having Bell with them from the beginning, but she makes for a nice deus ex machina moment.

Anyway, the movie definitely does capture the feel of a bunch of fanboys nerding out about their favorite media, so that's fun. And it neatly sidesteps the fact that Phantom Menace did, indeed, suck.

My grade: B
Rewatch value: Medium

Next up: Goldfinger