PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.


That the boys are so earnest in their dedication to the Star Wars oeuvre signals their stunted adolescence.


Director: Kyle Newman
Cast: Sam Huntingon, Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Kristin Bell, Seth Rogan
MPAA rating: PG-13
Studio: Weinstein Company
First date: 2008
US Release Date: 2009-02-06 (Limited release)

About halfway through Fanboys, a group of Star Wars geeks decides to make a detour during their road trip. Or, one of the boys does. As they make their way to Texas to retrieve secret plans to George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch (the year is 1998 and the quartet plan to break in to the compound to steal a rough cut of Episode 1: The Phantom Menace), Hutch (Dan Fogler) can't resist the opportunity to pester some "Trekkies" at the fictional birthplace of Capt. James T. Kirk in rural Iowa.

Soon enough, Hutch, along with pals Eric (Sam Huntington), Linus (Chris Marquette), and Windows (Jay Baruchel) find themselves trading beef with costumed "Trekkies," or "Trekkers" as "Admiral Seasholtz" (Seth Rogan, in one of the film's several cameos) corrects them. The two sides square off over which characters in which franchise could kick the others' asses. The verbal sparring quickly escalates into a scrappy nerdy brawl when Seasholtz calls Han Solo a "bitch." Windows, about to get a whoopin', tries to call a "time out," and Linus dispatches the Spock-wannabe (Thom Bishops) by biting off a pointy prosthetic ear.

Fanboys traffics throughout in a litany of such stereotypes of sci-fi geekdom. "No one calls Han Solo a bitch!" is something of a war cry for Hutch in particular, and he is forever ready to protect the virtue of his hero. The other boys agree, with Linus arguing at one point that Harrison Ford is the best actor ever and that the star has never made a bad movie, while in the background the boys pass a poster for the Ford/Anne Heche disaster, Six Days, Seven Nights.

That the boys are so earnest in their dedication to the Star Wars oeuvre signals their stunted adolescence. Three years past their high school graduation, the group still hangs around at house parties, dresses up for Halloween like Darth Vader and Imperial Stormtroopers, and at least one of them still lives in his mom's garage (Hutch insists it’s a "carriage house").

Of course, the pals are also befuddled by girls. Dick jokes abound, of course, including banter about who named his right hand "Princess Leia" in high school. Windows is supremely clueless (Hutch insists Windows' internet girlfriend, Rogue Leader (Allie Grant), is really "a dude"). Yet the real marker of his ineptitude is Windows' inability to see the value of the alterna-girl right in front of him. Zoe (Kristin Bell, totally slumming) is as obsessive about Star Wars as the fanboys, works alongside them in the local comic shop, and is a hot babe to boot. The "lesson" of Windows' road trip, then, is to fall in love with Zoe, always right in front of him. Urgh.

The addition of this lame-ass coming-of-age romance to the hackneyed humor makes Fanboys more than a little tedious. Wrapping it up is the on-the-road scene in which the boys' van breaks down, they walk to the nearest bar to find help, discover said bar to be filled with rough looking biker dudes, only to discover that... it's a gay bar! Really? Isn't it time to retire the "joke" about the straight guys who walk into a gay biker bar? Or the "surprise" that gay men might be roughneck thugs?

Fanboys' staleness is, for its target audience, ultimately irrelevant. This is attested to by the spoofing of sci-fi fan stereotypes -- a cautious, gentle needling rather than pointed satire. As the boys sit in front of a movie screen at the end of the film, finally about to experience The Phantom Menace, Eric ponders, "What if the movie sucks?" It does, of course, but to diehard fans, the cinematic or narrative merits doesn't matter. And neither will the lack of originality of Fanboys, a love-note to the dedication of genre fans and a testament to their box-office power. If you are not already a "Trekker," a Star Wars aficionado or sci-fi geek of whatever stripe, Fanboys may leave you as perplexed as if you were a fanboy gaping at a girl.


Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.





The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.


British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.


Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.


​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.


The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.


Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.


How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.


Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.


CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.


Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.


While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Peter Frampton Asks "Do You Feel Like I Do?" in Rock-Solid Book on Storied Career

British rocker Peter Frampton grew up fast before reaching meteoric heights with Frampton Comes Alive! Now the 70-year-old Grammy-winning artist facing a degenerative muscle condition looks back on his life in his new memoir and this revealing interview.


Bishakh Som's 'Spellbound' Is an Innovative Take on the Graphic Memoir

Bishakh's Som's graphic memoir, Spellbound, serves as a reminder that trans memoirs need not hinge on transition narratives, or at least not on the ones we are used to seeing.


Gamblers' Michael McManus Discusses Religion, Addiction, and the Importance of Writing Open-Ended Songs

Seductively approachable, Gamblers' sunny sound masks the tragedy and despair that populate the band's debut album.


Peter Guralnick's 'Looking to Get Lost' Is an Ode to the Pleasures of Writing About Music

Peter Guralnick's homage to writing about music, 'Looking to Get Lost', shows how good music writing gets the music into the readers' head.


In Praise of the Artifice in George Cukor's 'Sylvia Scarlett'

George Cukor's gender-bending Sylvia Scarlett proposes a heroine who learns nothing from her cross-gendered ordeal.


The Cure: Ranking the Albums From 13 to 1

Just about every Cure album is worth picking up, and even those ranked lowest boast worthwhile moments. Here are their albums, spanning 29 years, presented from worst to best.


The 20 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: The Original Series'

This is a timeless list of 20 thrilling Star Trek episodes that delight, excite, and entertain, all the while exploring the deepest aspects of the human condition and questioning our place in the universe.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.