You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


The fans have spoken: In response to pressure from the online community, the cancer subplot prevails in "Fanboys," a raunchy, rough-around-the-edges comedy about five "Star Wars" nuts who fulfill a childhood pact by breaking into Skywalker Ranch for an early look at "Episode I."

Eric - Sam Huntington Hutch - Dan Fogler Windows - Jay Baruchel Zoe - Kristen Bell Linus - Christopher Marquette

The fans have spoken: In response to pressure from the online community, the cancer subplot prevails in “Fanboys,” a raunchy, rough-around-the-edges comedy about five “Star Wars” nuts who fulfill a childhood pact by breaking into Skywalker Ranch for an early look at “Episode I.” It’s a qualified victory for a project with nearly as many alternate edits as “Blade Runner,” since this version (opening Feb. 6, delayed from a September release) may satisfy the peanut gallery and preserve director Kyle Newman’s vision, but exploits a less-than-solid storytelling device. Still, the resulting publicity should attract a decent geek-centric audience.

Over the course of its topsy-turvy production, “Fanboys” has become as much a cause as an actual film, an offscreen David-vs.-Goliath story pitting a handful of amateur filmmakers against the reshoot-inclined Weinstein Co. End result feels like an uneven cross between an amateur “Project Greenlight” pic and such recent comedies as “Superbad” and “Pineapple Express,” in which indie directors brought a certain edge to material that might once have felt more at home under the National Lampoon label.

“Fanboys” fits squarely into the zany road-trip category, briskly introducing the five key characters while setting their Ohio-to-California pilgrimage in motion: Eric (Sam Huntington) doesn’t have the nerve to tell his car-dealing dad that he wants to ditch the family business and draw comicbooks; loudmouth Hutch (Dan Fogler) hopes to move out of his mother’s carriage house; socially awkward Windows (Jay Baruchel) can’t wait to meet an online girlfriend who calls herself “Rogue Leader”; tomboy goddess Zoe (Kristen Bell) can’t seem to get her soulmate’s attention; and terminally ill Linus (Christopher Marquette) is living with the possibility that he may not be around when “The Phantom Menace” opens.

With Linus’ death hanging over their heads, the friends hit the road in Hutch’s old van, which he has customized with such features as a nitrous oxide tank (for those unexpected jumps to light speed) and a roof-mounted R2-D2 model. The gang’s plan sends them ping-ponging all over the country, first to Iowa, where they pick a fight with a group of “Star Trek” fans led by a barely recognizable Seth Rogen, then south to Austin, Texas, where uber-fanboy Harry Knowles (played by “My Name Is Earl’s” Ethan Suplee) roughs them up a bit, then to Vegas to meet a man with blueprints to Skywalker Ranch.

Cameos from such geek idols as William Shatner, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams and Ray Park spice up the group’s adventures, which otherwise lean toward the predictable: mistaking a session with two Sin City escorts for getting lucky, tripping on Native American herb beneath the desert stars and landing in the slammer for trying to outrun a police officer.

Their life-changing trek marks a spiritual journey of sorts, one governed by a form of pop-culture worship in which George Lucas’ “Star Wars” mythology serves as the prevailing religion. It’s a generational thing, but a tactic that should play well to twenty- and thirtysomethings who define themselves by such touchstones as “Scooby-Doo,” “Back to the Future,” “Dirty Dancing” and Super Nintendo, all of which are freely referenced here.

Above all else, “Fanboys” remains an enthusiastic attempt to pay tribute to the film that sparked countless fans’ love for the movies. Still, Newman and company have stiff competition in this sector: “Fanboys” arrives on the heels of much funnier made-for-TV “Star Wars” homages by “Robot Chicken” and “Family Guy.” It helps that Lucas gave the film his blessing, allowing key sound effects to be used (light-saber whooshes accompany the Weinstein Co. logo that opens the film), although bursts of John Williams’ score would have gone a lot further than Mark Mothersbaugh’s next-best-thing music.

Though not as dirty-minded as, say, Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes, who pop up for a bad-taste bit part here, screenwriters Ernest Cline and Adam Goldberg provide an awful lot of bodily-function humor for a film in which no actual sex takes place.

In the version screened for fans at Comic-Con, said to be the final cut agreed upon for theatrical release, pic is set in motion by the cancer plot device but avoids lingering on sentimental scenes toward the end. Soundtrack contains fewer Rush songs than Hutch’s character may have wanted, and things go a little haywire when Danny McBride shows up as Lucas’ lead “THX-1138”-costumed security guard, but tech credits are more than adequate despite the relative inexperience of those involved.


Production: An MGM release of a Weinstein Co. presentation of a Trigger Street/Coalition Film production. Produced by Dana Brunneti, Kevin Spacey, Matthew Perniciaro, Evan Astrowsky. Executive producers, Kevin Mann, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein. Directed by Kyle Newman. Screenplay, Ernest Cline, Adam F. Goldberg; story, Cline, Dan Pulick.

Crew: Camera (color), Lukas Ettlin; editor, Seth Flaum; music, Mark Mothersbaugh; music supervisor, Michelle Silverman; production designer, Corey Lorenzen; costume designer, Johanna Argan; sound (Dolby), Whit Norris; supervising sound editor, Matthew Wood, Michael Kirchberger; assistant director, Joe McDougall; casting, Anne McCarthy, Jay Scully. Reviewed at Comic-Con, San Diego, July 24, 2008. Running time: 90 MIN.

With: Eric - Sam Huntington Hutch - Dan Fogler Windows - Jay Baruchel Zoe - Kristen Bell Linus - Christopher MarquetteWith: Carrie Fisher, Allie Grant, Jaime King, Danny McBride, Jason Mewes, Ray Park, Seth Rogen, William Shatner, Kevin Smith, Ethan Suplee, Danny Trejo, Billy Dee Williams.

More Film

  • Jim Jarmusch in 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    Film Review: 'Carmine Street Guitars'

    “Carmine Street Guitars” is a one-of-a-kind documentary that exudes a gentle, homespun magic. It’s a no-fuss, 80-minute-long portrait of Richard Kelly, who builds and sells custom guitars out of a modest storefront on Carmine Street in New York’s Greenwich Village, and the film touches on obsessions that have been popping up of late, like fragrant [...]

  • Missing Link Laika Studios

    ‘Missing Link’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, Annapurna Pictures claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “Missing Link.” Ads placed for the animated film had an estimated media value of $5.91 million through Sunday for [...]

  • Little Woods

    Film Review: 'Little Woods'

    So much of the recent political debate has focused on the United States’ southern border, and on the threat of illegal drugs and criminals filtering up through Mexico. But what of the north, where Americans traffic opiates and prescription pills from Canada across a border that runs nearly three times as long? “Little Woods” opens [...]

  • Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping

    Beyonce's Netflix Deal Worth a Whopping $60 Million (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netflix has become a destination for television visionaries like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, with deals worth $100 million and $250 million, respectively, and top comedians like Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle ($40 million and $60 million, respectively). The streaming giant, which just announced it’s added nearly 10 million subscribers in Q1, is honing in [...]

  • Roman Polanski extradition

    Academy Responds to Roman Polanski: 'Procedures Were Fair and Reasonable'

    UPDATE: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has responded to a lawsuit from director Roman Polanski that claimed he was unfairly expelled from the organization behind the Oscars. “The procedures taken to expel Mr. Polanski were fair and reasonable. The Academy stands behind its decision as appropriate,” a spokesperson said. The Academy’s statement [...]

  • Lorraine Warren dead

    Lorraine Warren, Paranormal Investigator Who Inspired 'The Conjuring,' Dies at 92

    Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigator and demonologist whose life inspired franchises like “The Conjuring” and “The Amityville Horror,” has died. She was 92. Warren’s son-in-law Tony Spera confirmed the news. Spera said on Facebook, “She died peacefully in her sleep at home.” He continued, “She was a remarkable, loving, compassionate and giving soul. To quote Will [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content