Crowd funded with a budget of just $25,000. A story about a man child nerd whose entire life revolves around being game master of a game of Dungeons and Dragons. This is movie is for nerds, by nerds. And it’s that insular attitude that makes Zero Charisma probably not worth your time. Unless you too are a man child nerd whose entire life revolves around being game master of a game of Dungeons and Dragons. Or, you know a man child nerd whose entire life revolves around being game master of a game of Dungeons and Dragons.
Scott (Sam Edison) is that man child nerd whose entire life revolves around being the game master of a game of Dungeons and Dragons. He lives with his grandmother and hosts a weekly game in her house. When one of his regulars quits because his wife is about to leave him, Scott can’t believe something as trivial as a marriage could be more important to someone than their long running game. With a hole to fill in his game, Scott meets and recruits Miles (Garret Graham).
While Scott is an 80s stereotype of a Dungeons and Dragons playing geek, Miles is the epitome of the modern, hipster, cool nerd. So it’s only a matter of time before Scott is jealously resenting Miles and alienating his few friends. At home, Scott has more problems as his opportunistic mother arrives with a new husband in tow. She obviously has designs on Scott’s grandmother’s house and very little regard for her son.
This is a small movie, with small stakes and no actors you’ll recognise. But it’s a simple enough story, told effectively enough, with solid performances. I know I’m damning it with faint praise, but Zero Charisma is what it is. It’s not redefining cinema or giving us anything new, except new talent behind the camera and embracing an increasingly common way of getting a movie funded.
When I wrote about Le Fear 2: Le Sequel, I said it was, “cheap, nasty and amateurish. The jokes are rarely funny, the pacing is all over the shop and the story never once grabbed my attention. But you know what, I still love that it exists. Making a no budget movie is a huge accomplishment, and good or bad, I appreciate that these people were able to follow through and have a feature length movie to show for it.”
Now, after watching Zero Charisma, I take all of that back. Because with Zero Charisma, directors Katie Graham and Andrew Matthews had basically no budget, and they made a legit movie. Zero Charisma has more than competent actors, it has a well structured story, it has actual production values. It might not be a story I was all that interested in, but at least it was a well made and good looking story I had no interest in.