Review in a Hurry: In 1998, four geeks (one with terminal cancer) road-trip to California hoping to break into Skywalker Ranch to see The Phantom Menace before it's released. Ever thought that Kevin Smith movies didn't have quite enough Star Wars references in them? Then Fanboys was made for you.
The Bigger Picture: Ten years after the Star Wars prequel trilogy began, it's hard to believe the hype and the hopes that surrounded Episode I, a film that disappointed most nondevotees. Fanboys does make a few allusions to the eventual crowd reaction but thankfully also engineers the story so that it's largely beside the point—this isn't a tale of whether or not George Lucas abused anyone's childhood, but rather of four friends on one last journey before real life intervenes.
Fanboys itself is somewhat long-anticipated. It's been in the works for years and then was held up for two more while the Weinstein company tried to decide whether or not a character with terminal cancer should be completely excised from what is otherwise a high-concept comedy.
Indeed, it's a bit incongruous that a movie in which Seth Rogen shows up as a pimp sporting a giant Jar Jar Binks tattoo also wants to deal with matters of life and death—and aside from one scene where he collapses, Chris Marquette's Linus never looks like someone who's about to die in mere months.
That said, it keeps the film at least somewhat relatable when some of the jokes often veer dangerously close to annoying wink-wink humor, as when My Name Is Earl's Ethan Suplee shows up playing Ain't It Cool News' Harry Knowles as a master karate-kicker.
Many actual plot points are annoyingly trite—a gay biker bar here, a "Surprise! That hot girl's really a hooker!" moment there. And Kristen Bell as a gorgeous geek girl falling for the nerdiest of the bunch? Strictly fantasy.
However, if you're the sort of person who can appreciate a Ray Park cameo or a THX-1138 nod, you'll laugh, cry and wince in recognition. Anyone else is advised to bring their favorite nerd along to explain everything.
The 180—a Second Opinion: There's an uncomfortable flirtation with homophobia, especially when Dan Fogler proclaims that Star Wars is better than Star Trek because it doesn't have any gay characters. Um, Threepio?