Zero Charisma – DVD review 2.5/5 Stars
I think the title actually says it all. Well, maybe not all, I started off enjoying this film but it all fell apart at the end, and the concluding scenes just baffled me as it seemed they just wanted to tack on a happy ending without any explanation or plausibility at all. Zero Charisma is about Scott, a nerd. But not a kind or funny nerd like on Big Bang Theory, he’s more of a jerk. He and his friends have been playing a Dungeons and Dragons style game that Scott created for several years now, meeting at Scott’s house…well it’s not his house it’s his grandmother’s (Anne Gee Byrd) and he lives there with her. On one game night one of the group is forced to drop out in order to try and save his marriage. Forced to find another player for the game, Scott (Sam Eidson) meets Miles (Garrett Graham) who seems to be this Game Master’s only choice. Unfortunately Miles is too good. He may be a bit of a jerk too but he’s also smart, funny, charismatic, has a beautiful girlfriend (Katie Folger), an active sex life, and a geek culture website that is actually his paying job. Scott is naturally jealous when the group begins to like Miles more and of course the two will have a confrontation.
I will say that Sam Eidson’s performance was excellent and all of the characters felt very realistic if not a little too stereotypical. The rest of the cast didn’t really stand out to me in either a good or a bad way, so I guess that’s a slight positive. My main problem with the film was the ending. SPOILERS: We’re given a thrown together “happy” ending where Scott has a job at a nursing home where he gets to visit his lovable grandmother, still gets to criticize his mother (Cyndi Williams) and he still gets to go off and play his games. What the heck? How did this all come about? Scott and Miles are fighting, his buddy Wayne picks him up and drives him home to sad music, we fade to black and open up on the closing scenes. Am I supposed to feel happy that this character who was basically a controlling ass all movie long magically sorted his life out? Why not tell us how he did that? The film was fairly tragic up until the end, but I found it moderately enjoyable and thought it worked well until this was forced onto me. It was as though the writers could not figure out a way to actually redeem this character on screen so they just told us that he was redeemed. Maybe not redeeming the character would have been a better ending since even they couldn’t figure out how to do it! Where does it say we have to like the main character? He was certainly no hero. He admitted that he bullied and berated his friends so that they wouldn’t leave him. He didn’t even really get along with his grandmother for most of the movie, but he was her best friend at the end? I don’t know, the nerdy, geeky references were fun ideas but if you’re at all interested in RPGs, table top gaming, dice games, whatever, watch for yourselves and let me know if I’m off base here.
Bottom Line: I’m sorry, Zero Charisma had a great premise and a lot of promise, but the shoehorned ending really made me not care at all about this movie.