Let's say you are familiar with Ain't It Cool News, have heard the name Harry Knowles and generally keep up with the navel-gazing world of geekdom. As such, you'll probably find it pretty funny when you watch a longish scene in which an actor playing Knowles gets the crap beat out of him.
However, if you are part of probably the majority of people who have no idea what I'm talking about, that scene will likely be a little bit funny (someone getting the stuffing kicked out of them is often good for a small laugh) but mostly perplexing. So it goes with Fanboys: It's funny, but most of the time you have to already be in on the joke. And in order to be in on the joke, I'll be the first to admit, you're probably pretty geeky. For more of my thoughts on this funny/weird movie, read more.
The timing of the movie's release is fortuitous as it could been seen as a valentine to superfans everywhere. It's like a shout-out, goin' out to all the people in the house who have ever showed up to a movie in costume. It's a raise of the roof to anyone who's ever taken to the Web to insult a writer who doesn't share the love of a book series, like, say, Twilight. If you've ever been a die-hard fan of anything (particularly Star Wars and Star Trek), Fanboys is sincerely meant for you.
It follows a group of young friends who decide to fulfill a dream of breaking into Skywalker Ranch and getting a look at an early cut of The Phantom Menace. They take a road trip from Ohio to California and all sorts of bonkers things happen, including several run-ins with their arch enemies (led by a very funny Seth Rogen): Trekkies. Some of the scenes are really funny, some are trippy and some fall flat. The actors are cute and they work well together, although I found Dan Fogler to be a wee bit of a Jack Black knockoff and sometimes just wished for the original.
Kristen Bell is adorable in her role as a tough girl who doesn't take crap from the guys, although she's given some pretty nasty lady-hating lines that caught me off-guard. I've spotted this trend in several movies in the past few years and it disturbs me. Just because it's a woman spewing offensive, misogynistic words doesn't make them less vile. Can't a smart, comic book-loving girl with a sharp tongue be just that? Why does she have to accuse everyone of having a vagina as if that's a terrible thing? As if hanging with the boys means hating on the girls. Blech. Quit it, Hollywood.
All in all, though, it's not a bad movie and it's pretty silly and fun. I don't know if I can recommend non-Star Wars fans to rush to see this one, but I know that when it's on TV in the future, I'll totally stop and watch. And laugh at myself for being such a nerd.
Photos courtesy of The Weinstein Company