Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fanboys (*1/2)

Fanboys.  90 mins.  PG-13.  Directed by Kyle Newman.  Written by Ernest Cline & Adam F. Goldberg.  Starring Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, and Kristen Bell.

Fanboys has faced a two-year struggle to get to screens despite the fervent backing of Star Wars fans, Kevin Spacey as a producer, and a cool cast that includes several Apatow regulars.  Having now seen it,  I can see why.  Fanboys takes place in 1998 and follows a group of Star Wars fanatics as they trek across the country to break into Skywalker Ranch and see a rough cut of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace.  As an admitted fanboy myself, I went into this thinking I would love it.  But I was frustrated at every turn by the lack of laughs, the obnoxious performance by Jack Black-wannabe Dan Fogler, and the sub-par Kevin Smith dialogue that permeates the whole thing.  This is a sloppy movie.  The concept could work in the hands of someone else (Kevin Smith - maybe?  Judd Apatow - certainly), but director Kyle Newman is out of his element.  There are a bunch of cameos here, with Seth Rogen faring best in a silly double turn as the leader of a group of Trekkers and a Han Solo-loving pimp.  The much-ballyhooed cancer subplot in Fanboys has been mostly left on the editing room floor, and that's probably a good thing, because the filmmakers seem ill-equipped to deliver any resonance or dramatic oomph with it.  An attempted love story between Bell and Baruchel also falls completely flat.  This is the kind of movie that plays well at a midnight screening of a film festival, but seen in the light of day with a normal audience, it just plain sucks.



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