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Friday, January 24, 2014

Knights of Badassdom: We Waited Four Years for This?

Posted by on Fri, Jan 24, 2014 at 8:05 AM

Peter Dinklage: As LARPy as he wants to be.
  • Peter Dinklage: As LARPy as he wants to be.

(Knights of Badassdom screens tonight and tomorrow night at SIFF at the Uptown at 11 pm. It will also be available on demand and through digital services starting on February 11th.)

Let's be clear about this up front. The best thing about this movie is Peter Dinklage. He plays a drug-addled LARPer who seems to use live action role playing as set dressing for his psychedelic exploits, and all the best lines in Knights of Badassdom belong to him. Unfortunately, he's not in very much of the movie. The distant second-best thing about this movie is Steve Zahn as Eric, an independently wealthy nerd who lives out his Dungeons & Dragons fantasies by wearing wizard robes and chanting from old, cool-looking books he buys on eBay. Unfortunately, his character has no arc at all, and so he just hangs around in the background, being moderately funny Steve Zahn for no real reason.

Pretty much everything else in Knights of Badassdom is just plain bad. As the main character, Ryan Kwanten gives a performance that is as exciting, and durable, as a piece of IKEA furniture. Summer Glau does no better as the love interest. Danny Pudi gives such an awful supporting performance that I now have to wonder if the Community star is just a Bronson Pinchot for the 21st century. The plot, about a bunch of LARPers who accidentally summon a demon to the real world, is impossibly generic. The special effects are about as shitty as you can get before leaning into Power Rangers territory. The dialogue is flaccid. All the humor hinges on these people dressed up like shoddy medieval characters saying anachronistic things. The joke wears thin about twenty minutes in.

None of this should be surprising. Badassdom was filmed in 2010, and it's been plagued by production troubles ever since. Has there ever been a good movie that's taken four years from filming to release? But to blame the movie's problems on its muddled production process feels too easy. It just doesn't have anything going for it, from the script on up. Sometimes there's nothing more to it than the simple fact that some movies are losers. Knights of Badassdom is a loser. It's not maddeningly bad. It's not good-bad. It's just boring and shoddy and not funny at all.


Comments (9) RSS

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I have to say Paul is way off on this one, or perhaps he just doesn't get it. This isn't a move of character arcs, it's silly, hilarious camp. If you're not (or haven't been) the flavor of geek Knights appeals to, then it probably just seems dumb. But everyone at the packed screening at SIFF was laughing riotously throughout the movie.

Posted by fricktor on January 24, 2014 at 8:28 AM · Report this
Matt from Denver 2
"Danny Pudi gives such an awful supporting performance that I now have to wonder if the Community star is just a Bronson Pinchot for the 21st century." Yee-ouch!

"Has there ever been a good movie that's taken four years from filming to release?" Well, Apocalypse Now took almost as long. Besides, it's very early in 2014 - unless principle photography wrapped in January of that year (and it could have - I'm not going to bother looking), I bet the time gap is almost the same.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 24, 2014 at 8:33 AM · Report this
I think Paul's looking for character arcs in the wrong movie. I went to the screening on Tuesday and had a blast.
Posted by Russell on January 24, 2014 at 8:47 AM · Report this
Sounds like classic cult-classic material.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on January 24, 2014 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Bolding "just plain bad." Is this a movie critic term, it's too abstract of an idea for me to grapple my brain around. By bolding it are you drawing attention to a secret National Treasureesque type clue for us Slog readers???
Posted by michael bell on January 24, 2014 at 9:12 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
What the fuck is this shit? Why are all movies written for ten-year-old boys now? No sentient person should be spendig five cents or five seconds on idiotic crap like this. This is why America is stupid. Why aren't there any movies about why America is stupid?
Posted by Fnarf on January 24, 2014 at 9:38 AM · Report this
I'll never see this movie, but not because of the review. The first two sentences of the second paragraph are pure delight. I'm copying them to send out to my editorial group for shitzngiggles. Thank you!
Posted by Calpete on January 24, 2014 at 10:16 AM · Report this

Because when such movies ARE made (e.g. "Idiocracy") for some reason the idiots stay away in droves. And it's not just that so many movies are geared toward pre-teens because they go to the movies a lot (which, of course they DO), but because they also buy (or cajole their parents into buying) all the associated spin-off merchandising that constitutes a significant percentage of a film's anicillary profit.

The problem isn't so much that so many bad movies are being made nowadays, but that there's so much MORE $$ to be made from selling all the crap toys, games, lunch bags, backpacks, t-shirts, posters, etc., etc. that inevitably come WITH all those bad movies.
Posted by COMTE on January 24, 2014 at 12:25 PM · Report this
The Bailiff 9
Paul Constant, by neglecting to mention the yeoman's job Jimmi Simpson does in this movie, comedically, you have torpedoed your ENTIRE argument. HOUSE OF CARDS! DESTROYED! In conclusion, Jimmi Simpson. That is all.
Posted by The Bailiff on January 25, 2014 at 2:47 AM · Report this

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