Fanboys Kyle Newman

Fanboys Kyle Newman
Star Trek fans have Trekkies and Free Enterprise, videogame aficionados have The Wizard, but Star Wars followers have never had any films made about their incessant fandom. Fanboys tries to fill that gap and is successful, to a certain extent, but ultimately fails to balance its wacky homage with character-driven sincerity. In 1998, six months before Episode 1 is to be released, four Star Wars-obsessed friends plan a road trip to George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch in order to steal a copy of the film. Why? To see it before anyone else... also their friend is dying of cancer. While normally this might cast a grim note over the proceedings, Fanboys just gets sillier, which isn't a bad thing - there are plenty of cameos, camera-winking and relentless Star Wars references. Jay Baruchel is particularly enjoyable as one of the titular nerds, as is Kristen Bell as the token female member of the gang. The problem with Fanboys is that it seems to strive to be much more than it is. The characters are thinly drawn and under-developed, which is fine, but the script sporadically tries to inject pathos and depth in what is essentially a prolonged skit. The coming-of-age, friendship focus is dropped within the first 15 minutes of the story, and then awkwardly resurfaces at the conclusion. Part of the incongruities in tone may be due to the fact that film was made several years ago, shelved, then subjected to studio-enforced edits and re-shoots. Reportedly, the studio wanted the filmmakers to drop the terminal illness aspect of their story altogether, though the compromise they struck comes off as just weird. Nevertheless, Fanboys is a funny movie. It moves at a brisk pace, with unabashedly gratuitous celebrity cameos and enough charm to be consistently entertaining. Non-Star Wars fans will probably find the story amusing but devotees will revel in the minutiae of each reference. The license plate of the fanboys' van is "Slave 2." If you get that reference you'll probably get a kick out of the film. Also, the last line is kind of amazing. Special features include a commentary with the cast and crew, deleted scenes and several superfluous featurettes that cover the same material as one another. (Alliance)