DVD Release Date:  May 19, 2009
Theatrical Release Date:  February 6, 2009
Rating:  PG-13 (for pervasive crude and sexual material, language and drug content)
Genre:  Comedy
Run Time:  96 min.
Director:  Kyle Newman
Actors:  Chris Marquette, Dan Fogler, Jay Baruchel, Sam Huntington, Kristen Bell

Attention, all nerds.  If you’ve ever pretended to be Luke Skywalker—or acted like you were going to kill someone with your light saber—tune in.  This film’s for you.

It’s 1998 in Ohio, and three friends haven’t left high school—although high school has left them.   Linus (Chris Marquette), Windows (Jay Baruchel) and Hutch (Dan Fogler) show up at parties wearing Star Wars costumes.  It’s their favorite movie of all time, and it’s all they can talk about.  They also still hang out in the garage apartment of Hutch’s parents (err, “carriage house,” as Hutch insists).  

The fourth member of their quartet, Eric (Sam Huntington) has embraced the real world, however.  He’s selling used cars at his father’s (Christopher McDonald) dealership, but on the side, he’s sneaking in his real love—comic book drawing.  And although Eric is in denial, he’s still a Star Wars geek at heart. 

So when his old buddies launch a scheme to break into Star Wars-creator George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch to snatch the upcoming, yet-to-be released rough cut of The Phantom Menace—the next installment in the Star Wars series—Eric can’t help but be tempted.  So off they go, to a galaxy far, far away.  California.

Along the way, the young men engage in the usual series of road trip mishaps—everything from acid-tripping with gay bikers to rumbling with Iowa Trekkies (Star Trek fans, oh! The horror!).  These particular Trekkies reside in William Shatner’s hometown, and they hate Star Wars geeks with the same relish that Lucas fanboys hate them.  It’s an ongoing war, apparently.

Writers Ernest Cline and Adam Goldberg throw in some romantic relief, in the form of Zoe (Kristen Bell)—a girl too cute and too cool to ever fall in love with these dudes, but who does, anyway.  Hey, it’s Hollywood.  She happens to be one of the rare female Star Wars fans in the world, you see, which explains a lot.  Zoe bails the boys out of their mischief, which includes a couple of hook-ups with hookers, then joins in the high jinks herself.

If you don’t know what a Wookie is, if you’ve never had any Jawa juice, and if you can’t speak Ewok, you probably won’t appreciate this movie.  If you like good movies with realistic plots, you probably won’t like this movie.  If you like persuasive acting, decent cinematography, and good dialogue, you probably won’t like this movie.  Frankly, there’s a lot not to like.  And unfortunately, when it comes to objectionable content—especially for the film’s targeted male teenage audience—a lot is inappropriate.  There’s language, casual drug and alcohol use, lewd gestures (lots of them) and sexual references that few parents would want their sons hearing.

Production values are also weak, unfortunately.  Director Kyle Newman hasn’t directed a film since 2004’s The Hollow, and his lack of experience shows—mostly in the slapstick antics and ad-libbing that he allows his actors to engage in.  Dan Fogler isn’t bad, though.  If you like Jack Black.