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With: Chris Marquette, Sam Huntington, Kristen Bell, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, David Denman, Carrie Fisher, Pell James, Jaime King, Nicole Marie Lenz, Jason Mewes, Lou Taylor Pucci, Seth Rogen, William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams
Written by: Ernest Cline, Adam F. Goldberg, based on a story by Ernest Cline, Dan Pulick
Directed by: Kyle Newman
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for pervasive crude and sexual material, language and drug content
Running Time: 90
Date: 02/06/2009

Fanboys (2009)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)


By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This affectionate comedy has been fussed about for over a year, and the final product finally arrives in theaters. It's a little on the lazy side, more content with having fun and dropping names than with actually commenting on anything; it's no better or worse than any other "fan films." A Star Wars nut, Linus (Chris Marquette), has cancer and won't live to see the release of The Phantom Menace in May of 1999, so his old friends agree to take a road trip to George Lucas's ranch to steal a print of the film. Eric (Sam Huntington) is the friend that "grew up" and got a job and must learn how to have fun again. Rush fan Hutch (Dan Fogler) and computer nerd Windows (Jay Baruchel) tag along. Eventually Zoe (Kristen Bell), who works in a comic book store, shows up to help. (Perhaps not unintentionally, these characters remind one of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and the droids.) It's a standard road trip movie, with amusing stops along the way (usually decorated with star cameos), chase scenes, or dramatic character clashes. Fanboys succeeds in capturing the kind of excitement that Star Wars elicited from young boys everywhere (including me), but isn't at all interested in anything beyond that. In a weird subplot, the friends fight with a group of Star Trek fans, and they insult each other by berating each other's sci-fi of choice. (Maybe it's just me, but I've never met anyone who hates one and loves the other.) And frankly, I thought the cancer subplot was rather in bad taste; I assumed it was a deliberate lie to coax Eric to join the road trip, but it turns out to be a real plot device. The film does have a great poster, though. (See also the documentary Starwoids.)

DVD Details: The Weinstein Company has released a fanboy-friendly DVD. We get about seven minutes of deleted scenes, several little preview featurettes, and a collection of "webisodes." The audio commentary track has Fogler, Huntington, Bell and the writers and director.

Best Buy Co, Inc.