Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


Fanboys

Fanboys
Starring:
Christopher Marquette, Sam Huntington, Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Kristen Bell,
Carrie Fisher, William Shatner, Billy Dee Williams and Seth Rogen


Rated: PG-13 for pervasive crude and sexual material, language and drug content
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: February 20, 2009 Released by: The Weinstein Company

Fanboys finally sees the light of day theatrically after some off-screen dueling by mogul Harvey Weinstein and the film's director Kyle Newman to get it made and distributed. Too bad the film comes across like a lazy, lame version of a Kevin Smith comedy instead of being a snappy, bawdy satire of being into Star Wars (prequel) craze.

This sludgy, cameo-filled escapade set just about a decade ago has the feel of the recent Sex Drive with a group of nerds fueled in part by the Internet (no Miss Tasty here). They're on the road from Ohio to be the first to get their hands on the first print of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. It means making their way into the inner sanctum of George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch.

One of them, Linus (Christopher Marquette), is afflicted with cancer. Sam Huntington's Eric appears to be the most mature among others like computer geek Windows (Jay Baruchel of Tropic Thunder) renamed from MS-DOS and the haughty Hutch (Dan Fogler). Kristen Bell (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) endows a sexual charm to Zoe, one of the regulars hanging out at the comic-book store where our trio congregates.

Reportedly, the film's offscreen woes was evidenced by Weinstein wanting other footage (by another director) to be inserted and discarding the gravitas with Linus. But, actual fanboys ended up putting Weinstein in a position of agreement with Newman's vision.

The short running time, however, feels protracted with a series of cliched gags that comes off (as mentioned) like a knockoff of the Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. Actually, Smith and Jason Mewes (part of the ensemble of the recent Smith comedy Zach and Miri Make a Porno) appear in less than modestly vulgar fashion.

Carrie Fisher and William Shatner pop up, with the latter opinionated about Star Trek aficionados. Billy Dee Williams (remembered from The Empire Strikes Back) ironically appears in a courtroom with the actorly name of Judge Reinhold. And, the gradually ubiquitous Seth Rogen (also of Zach and Miri and Pineapple Express) encapsulates fan delirium to the extent offered in this low-minded comedy.

So, there isn't much to endorse here as many may get more of a rise out of identifying the various actors who made their mark in a genre that Eric, Hutch, Linus, and Windows idolize. One wonders how much George Lucas really approved of the final product, considering the protagonists's indecision about the quality of Menace in one interlude. This phantom tribute is just a poser as the behind-the-scenes conflict probably would have made for more nightly, nasty cinema verite than something that might best be scanned at for its bonus features.

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Fanboys        D+                  D+ 

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