Directed by: Kyle Newman
Premise: Set in early 1999, a group of Star Wars fans take a cancer-stricken friend on a road trip, intending to break into Skywalker Ranch and see Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace before it premiers in theaters.
What Works: Fanboys is a great deal of fun to watch. Although the characters are a bit cliché, they are great company for the duration of the film and the screenplay gives them very quotable, acerbic dialogue that is likely to be adopted as fan speak as Fanboys becomes more widely seen. The film walks a very fine line as it respects its characters and allows the audience to empathize with their passion for Star Wars while at the same time poking fun at the ridiculousness of fan devotion carried to the extreme. There are lots of allusions to the Star Wars series and other science fiction and fantasy films and fans will have a good time spotting the references. As good as the comedy is, the filmmakers of Fanboys show a grasp of the importance of a strong story and the cancer subplot of Fanboys is essential to the success of the film. In what is partially a reference to the story of the original Star Wars, Fanboys is partly about the transition from youth to adulthood and these dramatic elements elevate the character’s journey above adolescent high jinks and into rites of passage.
What Doesn’t: The dramatic scenes of Fanboys are not done as well as the comedic elements and the ending is abrupt and drops a lot of the weight that gives the film its soul. It is still a satisfying film but it waffles in its commitment to the cancer storyline in the final moments.
DVD extras: Deleted scenes, commentary track, featurettes, and webisodes.
Bottom Line: Although its theatrical run was limited, Fanboys seems like a film destined for a cult following like Waiting and Office Space. This is a very enjoyable film for fans of the Star Wars series or anybody who has had to put up with one.
Episode: #268 (December 13, 2009)