Review: Zero Charisma (2013)


Directed by: Katie Graham, Andrew Matthews | 86 minutes | comedy | Actors: Sam Eidson, Anne Gee Byrd, Brock England, Garrett Graham, Cyndi Williams, Vincent James Prendergast, Katie Folger, Lowell Bartholomee, Duncan Carson, Larry Jack Dotson, Jeff Fenter, Micheal Foulk, John Gholson, Jennymarie Jemison, Jason Crawford Jordan

You have losers and you have losers. And then you have the superlative: Scott (Sam Eidson), the main character in “Zero Charisma” (2013). Although this oversized übernerd is already in his thirties, he still lives with his cynical grandmother (funny role by Anne Gee Byrd) and earns a meager wage by delivering donuts (with his supervisor leaving no opportunity to finish him off). to bark). It almost goes without saying that Scott is quite inexperienced when it comes to women and love. He prefers to spend his time role-playing, in which wizards, elves and trolls play the leading roles. Preferably in a game that he invented himself. And so Scott moves towards Tuesday night every week when he has game night with four others at his grandmother’s house. That’s how it has been for three years. Scott is thriving because he is the “game master”; he sets the rules of the game and rules the board game like a dictator.

The danger of taking something as serious as Scott takes his game is that the smallest change will shake your life to its foundations. If one of his “playmates” drops out to save his marriage, he has to find a replacement within a week. And that turns out not to be easy (because even among nerds, Scott turns out to be a misfit). But then he suddenly bumps into Miles (Garrett Graham). A guy who is basically everything he is not: he is popular and successful, has a beautiful girlfriend and is easy going. He also seems smarter and more inventive than Scott, who quickly sees him as a threat. Because unlike his other gaming buddies, Miles has no intention of just surrendering to Scott’s whims. Scott feels threatened by the newcomer and his safe world of gatekeepers, quests and wizards is slowly but steadily crumbling.

“Zero Charisma” is a surprisingly entertaining film about a misunderstood loner who flees in a fantasy world in order not to face his shortcomings and problems. His mother Barbara (Cyndi Williams) plays a major role in his demise, who left him with grandmother when he was only eight years old. Then she did so because she was under the spell of a cult leader, but between the lines we learn that she did make more self-centered decisions. And just now that things are going less for Scott due to the arrival of Miles, she is returning to his life. But even now she appears to do this purely out of self-interest. While it is not easy to muster sympathy for Scott, we do understand a little bit about what went wrong with him, which makes him realistic. It is unfortunate that directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews have chosen to focus on the conflict between Scott and Miles, as the relationship between Scott and his mother is much more interesting. The film could have digged deeper with that premise; now it remains a bit superficial and the ending is not really satisfying. However, this does not alter the fact that “Zero Charisma” has more to offer than meets the eye.

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