Up and coming director Blake Freeman only has a couple of films under his belt, but apparently, he also loves gaming and gamer culture. His goal was to create a movie that gamers can call their own by creating the first true to life comedy about gamers. At its heart, Noobz is a road trip movie, but it is dressed up in plenty of gaming authenticity with a sponsorship and appearance by real pro gamers. The word “noob” is often used as a pejorative for a new gamer or a player without much skill.
Noobz stars Jason Mewes, Casper Van Dien, Moises Arias, Zelda Williams and director Blake Freeman. It tells the story of four members of a Gears of War clan that head out to L.A. to compete in the Cyberbowl Video Game Championship. Cody, played by Freeman is the most skilled player of the group but has trouble balancing real life with gaming. His trouble managing his priorities quickly causes him to lose his job and his buxom wife. Play N Trade manager, Andy is played by the always funny Jason Mewes of “Jay and Silent Bob.” In a strange twist, he plays the straight character in this film and serves as the glue keeping the group of misfits together.
When Cody is left with nothing, Andy convinces him to get their Reign Clan together, and head to California to win the Cyberbowl prize money. The other two members of their clan include a sexually confused shoe salesman named Oliver and an asthmatic teen named Hollywood, who uses his famous stepfather’s picture as his gamer icon. Andy has ulterior motives for dragging the group across the country. He has an online gamer-girl crush on Rickie, played by Robin William’s daughter, Zelda.
Microsoft apparently sponsored a good portion of the film, providing Xbox consoles, the Gears of War 3 game that the tournament features and a ton of Xbox related props. Pro-gamers Stephen “Absoluda” Gonzalez and Robert Paz aka “Prodigy X,” among others also make short cameos in the film. Just so you don’t think it’s all about Gear of War, Jon Gries of Napoleon Dynamite fame leads a parallel storyline based on classic arcade gaming.
There is a genuine love of gaming in Noobz and at least that much is obvious. In comparison to similar comedies, the film really struggles though. It’s terribly uneven and the punch lines never hit as hard as they could though there are bright spots. Unfortunately, the road trip comedy theme has been done better and the dialogue isn’t really sharp enough to be consistently funny on its own. Ironically, it was revealed in the commentary that they worked hard to avoid an R rating which they ended up receiving anyway. As the movie states in the beginning, the average gamer is in their thirties, so toning everything down was probably counter-productive.
The Noobz DVD presents the film in a widescreen format with English Dolby Digital Audio and Spanish subtitles. The only extras offered are a couple of very short bits with a few of the actors and a director’s commentary with Blake Freeman and Jason Mewes. For the most part it sounds as if the often hilarious Mewes is just phoning it in. The enthusiasm gap between the two is obviously wide and including Mewes was most likely for marketing purposes. If you’re looking for a little more to laugh at, at the end of the movie there are a number of outtakes that run during the credits.
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