FrightFest 2010: Fanboys review

A change of pace from hatchets, hoodies and Tobe Hooper, Fanboys isn’t a horror movie – but you can see why it’s at FrightFest. There’s a clue in the title…

We were in nerd nirvana before the movie had even started, thanks to an appearance from a Stormtrooper and one of the Emperor’s red-robed guards.

Yep, we’re talking Star Wars – specifically the most anticipated/most derided prequel in movie history, Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

It’s the summer of 1998; four friends are literally counting the seconds until George Lucas unveils the space saga’s latest chapter.

When one of the buddies (Chris Marquette) reveals he has but months to live, the gang embark on a mission: to infiltrate Skywalker Ranch for an illicit preview screening.

Cue a road trip that’s essentially an Easter egg parade of cameos (Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, William, um, Shatner), winks, nods and nudges.

By the time we get to a coffee house called Java The Hutt – a reference not only to Star Wars but co-star Kristen Bell’s series Veronica Mars – the mood is so geek-tastic it makes Scott Pilgrim look like The A-Team .

Still, you don’t have to know what Darth Maul looks like without the make-up to enjoy deft comic turns from Jay Baruchel, Danny McBride or Seth Rogen.

The latter plays dork in chief of a bunch of hardline Trekkers embroiled in a bitter slapstick rivalry with our boys.

Such Trek-bashing is a bit pot/kettle – but hey, it does give us a laugh at the phrase ‘Spock-sucker’…

The terminal illness sub-plot is at best glib and at worst a shameless emotional hook - but at fade-out Kyle Newman’s movie emerges as a warm, affectionate take on fandom.

If only the movie it was about had left such goodwill in its wake…