Zero Charisma [Fantasia Film Festival 2013]

Zero Charisma

Last year at Fantasia Film Festival, we were delighted by the fun movie "Lloyd the Conqueror", a Canadian comedy about the sport of LARPing (Live Action Role Playing). Attracting several actual LARPers in full costume, this flick was extremely well received and may have opened the door for the international premiere of the latest entry to Fantasia in the same vein: Zero Charisma.

A full-length indie comedy about the trials and tribulations of the town's most dedicated Dungeons & Dragons Game Master, Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews' film Zero Charisma takes a stab at examining present day nerd culture.

Particularly, they wonder exactly how accurately nerds are portrayed on shows like "The Big Bang Theory", and how sampling hipsters and hardcore nerds may have become divided in their motivations for escapism through role-playing games. The results of pitting one against the other in Zero Charisma are at times dramatic and touching, but always funny. Very, very funny.

The characters feel genuine and you would swear you know a dude exactly like the ones the movie describes. Also important, the music is perfect for the setting, piping in the right epic medieval metal tune at just the right time.

The movie is a party (D&D party!) and you're invited.

So, if you and your buddies have some geekiness about you one way or the other, you've every reason to sit back and enjoy Zero Charisma, available to you very soon!

Fun fact: Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews both worked on "Best Worst Movie", the hit documentary about one of our favourite party movies, Troll 2!

- Jonny Mosco

George Prax:

Not only is Zero Charisma probably the most accurate portrayal of nerds and true nerd culture that we've seen yet, but it's also a relatable story with relatable characters that you will certainly connect with, even if they might seem like the most reclusive type of people.

The film's main character, Scott, goes through some real serious and real-life problems in the movie, concerning his family, his friends, the conditions in which he lives his life. To him, gaming is an escape from the woes of his day-to-day life, and the events of the film threaten that and his routine. In a way, we know what makes this character tick from the first moment of the film, and what happens in it shows us what makes him reach his breaking point, but also that deep down, we should be who we want to be.

There's humor, there's action, there's conflict, and the movie is very well written and directed with passion, almost in spite of its Indiegogo budget and local flair. You don't have to be a tabletop gamer to relate to Zero Charisma, just a human being with empathy, and that makes it a great film, very much worth checking out.

Comments 2
Rob Cote's picture

I would offer this third opinion, based on the half-plus of the film I saw. I thought a lot of the jokes were a bit too on-the-nose, and the characters weren't anything new. I've seen these same socially-inept-beyond-reason types on screen before, and these were more caricatures than characters. Not that I thought the film was bad - just not amazing. I do like that it examines the notion of geekiness. Some people might see D&D and fantasy as an escape, where others just think "wizards and shit" are cool. That was pretty neat idea to explore, and I look forward to seeing how that plays out when I finally get to see the rest.

George Prax's picture

Truth is Rob that it really picked up in the third act. At first I wasn't too into it either but I thought it really came together.