14th Mar2013

‘noobz’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Blake Freeman, Jason Mewes, Zelda Williams, Casper Van Dien, Moises Arias, Jon Gries, Matt Shively, Bill Bellamy, Lin Shaye, Adam Sessler | Written by Blake Freeman, Marvin Willson | Directed by Blake Freeman

noobz-screen

Filmmaker Blake Freeman writes, directs and stars in noobz, a comedy about video gaming that follows four friends, and Gears of War clan members, who hit the road to L.A. to compete in the Cyberbowl Video Game Championship for the chance of winning $100,000.

Think The Wizard meets Kevin Smith and you’ll be somewhere close…

After Cody (Freeman) loses his job and his wife leaves him because he can’t stop playing Gears of War 3 with his gamer clan, the Reign’s, his best friend and fellow gamer Andy (Mewes), convinces him to join the rest of the clan, including sexually confused Oliver (Shively) and “Hollywood”, aka actor Casper Van Dien, on a trip to L.A. and the Cyberbowl. Along the way they discover “Hollywood” isn’t who they think he is, Andy finally meets his online crush Rickie (Williams) and the Regin Clan comes face-to-face with Greg “ArmaGregon” Lipstein (Gries), a former arcade game champion trying to regain his Frogger throne and who may also turn out to be Hollywood’s father!

There have been many complaints levelled at noobz for it’s negative portrayal of gamers and the gaming community, mainly from gamers who have a stick up their arse. For the rest of us, the film is a broad comedy that not only pokes fun at the types of gamer seen in MTV’s True Life, but also plays on the stereotypes of gaming – stereotypes typically perpetrated by non-gamers. Of course there are some stereotypes at work here too but writer/director Freeman manages to sugar-coat them with plenty of laughs. The motto of this film seems to be if you can’t laugh at yourself, laugh at others expense.

And noobz is filled with laughs. Many of the non-PC variety. Yes, there are gay jokes and racist jokes a plenty – be it the running joke about the ambiguity of clan member Oliver’s sexuality, the Asian store clerk calling the cops and putting on a white-American voice, or the black, militant, and underage, leader of Reign Clan’s arch-enemies, the Black Assassinz, whose nickname is “Chomomma”. However the films biggest “joke” is actor Jon Gries spot-on portrayal of a washed-up 80s former video game champion, modeled closely on washed-up 80s former video game champion Billy Mitchell. Gries manages to brilliantly parody Mitchell as seen in the King of Kong documentary, over-inflated ego, mullet and all.

With some likeable performances, an on-form Jason Mewes, a great self-depricating cameo from the bug killer himself, Casper Van Dien, and a surprise appearance by the awesome Lin Shaye as his wife(!), noobz is well worth a watch. noobz is available now on iTunes US.

**** 4/5

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