Movies take different approaches to geek culture.  Some take a humorous but loving look at their genre (like The Gamers: Dorkness Rising), while others focus on the ridiculous (King of the Nerds).  Zero Charisma takes both approaches, as its main character seems to embody all the worst possible traits of the stereotypical tabletop RPG game master.

Scott Weidemeyer (Sam Eisdon) is the game master of his home-brewed sword and sorcery game (searching for a publisher) that he's been running for three years with his four (and possibly only) friends.  Scott loves running the game, but it quick to put down anything he disagrees with.  The other players go along with it; and Wayne (Brock England) seems to slavishly follow Scott around and do whatever he says.

Outside of the game, though, Scott's life is pretty pathetic.  He's overweight, has never had a girlfriend, has a room covered in fantasy posters, thrashes to heavy metal, and paints miniatures.
Scott works as a delivery boy for Donut Tacos Palace II, and he often has to make deliveries to the game store that fired him.  Scott lives with his grandmother Wanda (Anne Gee Byrd), who happily interrupts his games; and the reappearance of his mother Barbara (Cyndi Williams) leads to embarrassing stories and more conflict.

When Scott loses a player (who quits to fix his marriage), Scott's search for a replacement leads to Miles (Garrett Graham),  While Miles fits in with the group, he quickly turns out to be the opposite of Scott (solving a geek hypothetical quickly, working for a popular geek website, having a hot girlfriend (who thinks nerds are sexy) and his own home, being funny and social) and overshadows Scott with the gaming group.  And as things get worse for Scott outside the gaming group as well, his bad nature keeps getting worse and worse...

While Zero Charisma makes its lead an amalgam of some of the worst traits of gamers, it's hard for any experienced gamer to recognize some (or all) of the traits in protagonist Scott.  Fortunately, the movie manages to find humor not in mocking the genre or its fans, but in the clash of personalities between a wannabe alpha male and the new, popular guy.  Sam Eidson is nicely unlikable as the GM who finds his iron fist of control over his game slipping away, and the rest of the cast is decent.  Zero Charisma certainly isn't a recruiting tool for getting more people to play tabletop RPGs, but it's a funny little movie that experienced gamers will certainly relate to.  (DVD extras are deleted scenes.)

Overall grade: B
Reviewed by James Lynch

1 comment:

smg58 said...

Scott?! They had to name him Scott?!