The Star Wars-inspired Fanboys is finally here—but was it worth the wait?

Contributed by
Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

If the only thing more exciting to you than watching the Star Wars films is sitting around with buddies talking endlessly about them, then Fanboys is the movie for you.

Director Kyle Newman's movie is primarily designed as a tribute to the obsessive geekdom that has protected teen boys from losing their virginity, and it mostly succeeds. But for people who hated the prequels or just outgrew their love for Salacious Crumb action figures and Star Wars Holiday Special references, it will probably feel like 90 minutes in the Sarlacc pit.

Set in 1998, Fanboys stars Sam Huntington and Chris Marquette as Eric and Linus, two estranged buddies who embark on a cross-country trip to break into Lucasfilm and watch Episode I. Also along for the ride is Hutch (Dan Fogler), a Han Solo obsessive who owns a van outfitted with Star Wars paraphernalia, Windows (Jay Baruchel), a computer geek who pencils a date with his Internet girlfriend into the itinerary, and Zoe (Kristen Bell), a scrappy girl-next-door type who rescues the guys after they run afoul of the law.

Lucasfilm generously approved the use of much of the series' characters, lines of dialogue and sound effects in Fanboys, and that reservoir of reference material is the saving grace of the film. As annoying as the characters' digressions and dissertations about Star Wars minutiae occasionally becomes, there always seems to be a well-timed audio cue or stylistic flourish (such as echoes of Lucas' trademark wipes) to keep proceedings moving forward.

At the same time, that cooperation is likely also the reason there's so little bite to much of the humor; the film carefully avoids addressing how good or bad Episode I actually is, and never even hints at how unhealthy it can be to obsess about any one thing to the exclusion of professional ambition, much less social interaction or personal hygiene.

Again, however, this is a film made for die-hard Star Wars fans as much as it was made by them, which is why it will resonate most strongly with folks who, like the characters in the film, have known trivia like the name of Chewbacca's homeworld since Christmas 1977. But for the rest of us, Fanboys is a coming-of-age story that refuses to grow up, and a nostalgia trip that stops before it reaches its destination. Because, seriously—if someone told you that after a lifetime of waiting, a cross-country trip and some major-league breaking and entering, the payoff for your patience and hard work was a screening of Episode I, how excited would you really be?