Fantastic Fest Review: Fanboys

I’ve heard many stories about the behind the scenes problems which pushed the release of Fanboys back again and agin, but having just left a screening of the finished version, a director’s cut by Kyle Newman, I can assure you that the problems have been greatly exaggerated. You have a very marketable cast, and a film which seems like an extremely easy sell to the target demographic. I think the problem is that The Weinsteins were hoping for an American Pie type film with mainstream appeal, but they instead have a movie aimed at a very targeted niche. But lets not forget, George Lucas has been able to make tons of money off this targeted group of fans.

After high school, Eric (Sam Huntington) ditched his Star Wars fanboy friends for a job as a car salesman, and now finds himself ready to take over his father’s franchise of car dealerships. When he learns that one of his former best friends Linus (Chris Marquette) has been diagnosed with Cancer and only has months to live, he convinces his former friends (Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel) to go on a road trip to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch, so that Linus could watch Star Wars: Episode I before he dies.

The film is your typical teen road trip film, laced with so many Star Wars references you’ll probably want to see it twice to take them all in. There are conversations about how Boba Fett is like Michael Bay, style but no substance, and arguments about if Luke really had a thing for his sister. The series of adventures include a stop in Riverside Iowa (the future birthplace of Captain Kirk) to fuck with Trekkies. Kristen Bell plays Zoe, a girl with feisty Princess Leia-like attitude who works at a comic book store, and is well versed in everything from Star Wars to video games. Basically, she’s a fanboys wet dream.

Seth Rogen has triple duty, playing a trekkie (who seems perfectly modeled after Gabriel K√∂erner from Trekkies), a Star Wars tattooed pimp, and a Star Trek alien who they run into while in Las Vegas. At one point in the film, one version of Seth Rogen fights another version of Seth Rogen on the big screen. Epic! Ethan Suplee plays Ain’t It Cool News’ Harry Knowles, and there is a bevy of other cameos which include Billy Dee Williams, Danny Trejo, Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes, Craig Robinson, Lou Taylor Pucci, Carrie Fisher, Danny McBride, and William Shatner playing himself. Ray Park (Darth Maul) even has a cameo as a THX security guard.

The film is not perfect, nor is it even on par with the best the teen comedy genre has to offer. Some of the problems include a kid dying of cancer who shows very little (if any) signs of sickness, a poorly developed romantic subplot, and a scene in a gay biker bar which should have been completely exorcised from the completed film. Oh, and Dan Fogler is painfully annoying. If only they had cast Jonah Hill or Tyler Labine instead. But the target audience of Star Wars fanboys and comic book geeks will surely eat it up. In it’s best moments it is a love letter to fandom and friendship.

/Film Rating: 7 out of 10

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