3 Stars
Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 101 minutes
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The problem with role playing is that as much as you try to escape reality, inevitably it’s just going to catch up with you. You can pretend to be whom ever you want, but at the end of the day you will still be in bed, with a job you probably hate. As hard as you may try, reality will always stare you dead in the face.

In the Scottish coming of age tale “Gamerz,” Ralph learns that the hard way when he arrives to University, and becomes involved in a role playing game along the lines of Dungeons and Dragons. Except when he immediately takes control as Dungeon master, as well as inserting his own game with his own rules, he begins to bond with the resident fanatic, a Goth named Marilyn. As he begins to drown himself in his own world further and further, until he learns the idyllic crush is not all he thinks it is.

Hey, I won’t judge you if you take part in the role playing fanaticism, hell, to further my own image as a geek into the pits, I used to run a rather successful X-Men role playing website, so I can sympathize. And it’s not often we are granted films that explore the deeper meaning behind role playing.

It’s all about escaping. Not just a boring world, but a world of misery, a world of pain, and a world with nothing to offer us.

However, I wish “Gamerz” beyond that no-brainer observation, would have explored a more complex issue behind these characters and their devotion to their obsession. Beyond basic undertones, “Gamerz” doesn’t have too much a point beyond using the role playing as a plot device in the ensuing love triangle we see coming miles away, in the second half. I’ve seen better plot twists in Hughes dramas.

The role playing sadly only serves as a form of metaphor for Ralph’s life and how he tackles neighborhood bullies and his blossoming infatuation with Marilyn, while nothing else is really accomplished in the short time. Beyond it, though, Ross Finbow gives a very charming performance as the imaginative and awfully innovative RPG nut who finds that revenge and turmoil isn’t just relegated to fantasy worlds he invents.

Danielle Stewart is particularly memorable as the more complex Marilyn who has an utterly disturbing devotion to her creation Emblum Bella, while using the game to further her abilities as an actress, and ends up morphing into an entirely different entity we can never be sure to hate or sympathize with. Fraser can never seem to decide either.

With an often light, but otherwise slow pace, “Gamerz” is an imperfect, but entertaining dramedy about RPG geeks dealing with love and loss, all of which is saved by Finbow’s memorable turn as the geeky Dungeon master.

Posted on April 21, 2007 in Reviews by

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