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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Nerds > Pop Culture > Satire > Spoof > Zero Charisma (2013/Cinedigm DVD)

Zero Charisma (2013/Cinedigm DVD)

Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras: D Film: A

Zero Charisma is an incredible social commentary on nerd culture - namely tabletop gaming. Their sport is one that is mostly looked down upon or misunderstood but contains the most devoted players arguably of any recreational game. As our main character Scott re-enforces, the tabletop game reaches back to the caveman era of shared storytelling and requires immense time, concentration, and imagination. At the beginning of our film, Scott seems to have his life down - he pays no rent with his grandmother that he lives with, he has a job working for a donut-taco shop, and is the game master of his self-created tabletop game that his friends have been playing with him for the past three years. Sure, Scott is a little overweight and has a bad temper. And sure, Scott got fired from his job at the local gaming shop a year ago for yanking off but none of that will let him down once he has finished his creation and will sit upon the metal throne of geek culture in his own mind.

All of this changes when he meets Miles - who is the epitome of everything Scott wants to be. Miles knows his nerd culture, has a successful website, a beautiful girlfriend, and his own place. Miles even met the Wachowskis and knows which ship is faster: The Millennium Falcon as opposed to the USS Enterprise. Scott invites Miles over to play his new tabletop game (a spot is vacated when one of his friends drops out to deal with his marriage troubles) and soon Miles wins over Scott's friends. Things worsen when Scott's Grandmother's health starts to decline and she ends up in the hospital with a stroke. Soon, Scott's Mother and her new finacé come to stay with Scott and cramp Scott's lifestyle, interfering with his personal life.

What will happen to Scott when Miles wins over all his friends? When his Mother sells his Grandmother's house to help pay off her outrageous debts? When none of Scott's friends want to play with him anymore because of his tempered outbursts? When his new character is laughed at instead of praised upon? When Scott finds himself with God of Tabletop Gaming in a Q and A and gets to ask him his inspirations? Find out when you see Zero Charisma - which if you are a fan of Clerks, Curb Your Enthusiasm, or geek culture in general you have to see!

What works in this film is not only the story but the unknown actors that portray them. We have all known guys in our lives like Scott and here Sam Eidson pulls him off beautifully. We believe that he is this guy and go from hating him in one scene to sympathizing with him in the next. Miles, played by Garrett Graham is also spot on - dishing out to us the guy that we can relate to and want to be friends with. Directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews are to be commended for their admirable take on this subject. I was thoroughly impressed by this film and will definitely show it to other friends that are familiar with the subject.

The only downfall to the disc is the lack of extras - containing only deleted scenes. I would have enjoyed a commentary or maybe a short behind the scenes to get an idea of what the production on this was like. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 picture and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound are up to DVD standards and would obviously benefit from a Blu-ray release.

- James Lockhart



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