Fanboys review (DVD)

The Star Wars saga absolutely must be the most parodied series of films in existence, and for good reason. The original trilogy especially, of course, is just so chock full of detail and memorable moments that it would just be nonsensical not to make fun of them in the name of satire. I imagine the world would be in flames if there were no such parodies. Okay, an exaggeration perhaps, but still, there's certainly nothing wrong with a healthy dose of mockery, especially when it's humoring the greatest sci-fi movie trilogy of all time.

In Fanboys, drunken banter at a Halloween party turns into the biggest adventure of four long time friends' lives when they embark on a 2000-mile road trip. The objective? It's 1998 and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace is six months away from hitting the big screen. The four friends in question are the biggest Star Wars fanboys you could possibly imagine, as the title infers, and it's their mission to storm the Skywalker Ranch in California, workplace of George Lucas, and steal a print of the film. As nerds who have all grown up together, Eric (Huntington), having been taken under his father's wing as a used car salesman, is the only one of the lot to have matured. Even with a talent for penning comic books, he's tried to leave his geeky side in the past, but when faced with the news that best buddy Linus (Marquette) has terminal cancer and just months to live, he decides that one last trip is in order and away they go – in a van decked out with the ultimate Star Wars paint job and interior no less.

Fanboys is very much what Star Wars would be if it was an all-out comedy, and instead of star fighters and hyperspace, had a battered old van and the open road. I'm kidding. To call Fanboys an all-out comedy would be unjust as it's quite frankly not very funny. Most of the gags fall flat with only a few of them eliciting a laugh, and in a comedy which is very nearly devoid of humour, the cameos can't save it. Not even Carrie Fisher and Billy Dee Williams can. Nor can scenes of violent brawls with Trekkies.

The history of the film is almost as interesting as the 86-minute feature. It was shot in 2006 and only saw the light of day in the States in 2009 after plenty of reshoots, copious amounts of editing, and a constantly pushed-back release date. A couple of the cameos in the film, such as Kevin Smith's, were even shot way after principle photography had taken place.

As a humungous fan of Star Wars up until about age ten, it was reasonably fascinating seeing all the memorabilia and picking out the countless references to the films, but beyond those treats the Fanboys experience is a bit like sticking your head in a blender laden with roses – it's nice to look at but the outcome is a little on the unfortunate side of the enjoyment spectrum. It's a great idea for a road movie, I just wish it was 90 percent funnier.

EXTRAS  ??? Deleted scenes; The Truth About Fanboys; Star Wars Parallel; 4 Fanboys & 1 Fangirl; The Choreography; Disturbances in the Force: a series of webisodes; and the international trailer.• Fanboys screened at the Film4 FrightFest 2010 – check out our full coverage of the festival

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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