Thursday, July 31, 2014

Penny Thoughts ‘14—Knights of Badassdom (2014) **

R, 86 min.
Director: Joe Lynch
Writers: Kevin Dreyfuss, Matt Wall
Starring: Ryan Kwanten, Steve Zahn, Summer Glau, Peter Dinklage, Margarita Levieva, Jimmi Simpson, Danny Pudi, Brett Gipson, Joshua Malina, W. Earl Brown, Brian Posehn

“Knights of Badassdom” is the type of geek core movie that you really want to work. It’s got a great premise, a great cast, and great potential for humor and referential jokes. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, and I’m not sure I will be able to pin point why.

It tells the story of a group of LARPers who are terrorized by a demonic version of a member’s ex-girlfriend after their “wizard” inadvertently casts a real spell. I mean, really? Doesn’t that sound like a great idea for a movie? Damn! I want to see that movie! However, I just did and I read that synopsis again and I feel like I didn’t just see that movie because it really should’ve been much more memorable.

I can’t really fault the cast either. I mean Steve Zahn, Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau. I mean really? How can you go wrong with Summer Glau? Well, they don’t really go wrong with any of these people, yet it still doesn’t quite work. As far as the performances go, it almost seems as if the characters and dialogue are all written for Jack Black to perform them, but these people are here instead. They do their best, but they need better material than Jack Black does in order to make it work. Black could take inane dialogue and sell it with his enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is his thing. These people have the enthusiasm, but it has a different flavor from other actors than it does from Black.

That’s not to say that Black could’ve saved this. I don’t think he could’ve, because I wouldn’t have wanted to see him in all the roles, especially Glau’s. That girl has a great smile. That’s something she doesn’t do enough in her other roles. Anyway, I like these actors. I like this premise. The movie just doesn’t quite meet my expectations. 

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