1) Zero Charisma
In trying to describe what Zero Charisma feels like while watching it, the best I could come up with was that it’s as though Ricky Gervais’ character from The Office became a Game Master instead of running the office for a regional paper company. And I don’t even really know what a Game Master is.
One of the joys of this movie is that it portrays this rather well known, but little understood subculture of what most people would dismissively label as “nerds” who like to act out the types of fantasies most people experience as kids, but well into their adult lives.
Tackling specific subcultures that are commonly maligned or made fun of by the general public is tricky territory for filmmakers. Directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews carry out this delicate balancing act rather gracefully here, maintaining some distance so that we can appreciate how weird these characters are, but also not making us feel so distant that we’re in the same camp that typically laughs at these types of characters.
It’s a funny movie, but not a patronizing one. It loves its characters even though it can see why people may find them ridiculous. There are times throughout where it seems like it might be teetering and ready to crash, but the movie really sticks the landing in the end. It’s an unlikely success story as a film, even if personal success is hard to come by for its Game Master.
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