Director: Chris Prynoski
Cast: Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt, Hannibal Buress (VOICES)
Release Date: February 7, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6/10
Disc Rating: 7/10
Aspiring actor JOHN (Paul Rudd) and wannabe screenwriter ELLIOT (Patton Oswalt) are slacker best friends who have seen their dreams of super-stardom fizzle. With their 30th birthdays looming and desperation growing, they decide that in this 24/7, celebrity-obsessed world of over-shared navel-gazing, there are more ways to get famous than ever before — so why not become famous by the end of the day, at any cost?! With only the grudging support of a wacky collectible store owner (Hannibal Buress) and their one-sided love for a pair of equally fame hungry women (Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci) to keep them going, John and Elliot troll Los Angeles on an attention grabbing journey of reckless publicity stunts and failed heroics. While navigating their hyper-stimulating landscape of consumerism gone wild, our disheartened duo inadvertently become key witnesses in a high profile crime that sets the news cycle on fire, making them household names… but only if they can survive the infamy and worldwide shame.
The adult oriented animated film ‘Nerdland’ tells the story of two best friends living together in LA and struggling to make it in the entertainment world. John (Rudd) is a hopeful actor continually absent of work and Elliot (Oswalt) is an untalented screenwriter who can’t seem to get much accomplished most days. Desperate to achieve fame at any cost, the hopeless duo set out on a series of misadventures in the hope of gaining some media notice. Initially trying to get recognized as heroes, once their repeated attempts to do so all fail miserably, the duo starts to contemplate some far darker options; reasoning that a bit of measly jail time would be more than worth the infinite fame certain to accompany it. But as with everything else in their lives, fame may indeed come their way eventually, yet likely not in the manner they were expecting.
Directed by Chris Prynoski (TV’s Metalocalypse, Turbo FAST) from a screenplay written by Andrew Kevin Walker (Se7en, 8MM), Prynoski does a pretty solid job at the helm of ‘Nerdland’ guiding the darkly humorous and twisted animated tale along with a fitting sense of gloom and unease. The film also owes a tremendous amount of credit to the noteworthy voice cast that features numerous talented and hilarious individuals and includes Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt, Hannibal Buress, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, Mike Judge, Paul Scheer, Molly Shannon, and many more, nearly all contributing fitting performances in each of their respective voice roles and as a whole helping the movie to work as well as it does.
‘Nerdland’ is an odd, occasionally hilarious and painfully real animated film unlike anything else you’re likely to have experienced in recent memory. Following a hopeless pair of nobody’s living in the Hollywood area and desperate to become famous by any means necessary, it delves into some truly dark and occasionally quite uncomfortable places as the two begin to contemplate increasingly drastic means of gaining media attention. It utilizes an exceptionally crude animation style that oddly represents the tone of the movie quite adequately, intentionally stretching and bending limbs and other details in order to further enhance the mood. While the painfully real aspects within and the complimentary animation certainly stand out and make the film something truly unique in many ways, the relentless darkness and disturbing actions and intentions of the lead characters, plus an oddly paced, sometimes painfully slow storyline without a great deal of progress and worthwhile activity occurring within unfortunately harms it at the same time, often leaving the viewer disinterested and uncaring as to the fate and continuing course of the two individuals we are accompanying. One aspect that helps the movie tremendously is the impressive collection of talented and hilarious folks that make up the voice cast including Paul Rudd, Patton Oswalt and many, many more, and while it undeniably has its share of faults; it certainly has a number of strengths to counteract many of them. This definitely won’t be a film for a lot of folks out there, yet for the hardcore fans of the talented voice cast, and anyone who can appreciate the charm of a surprisingly dark comedy revolving around fairly despicable characters, it’s probably worth giving ‘Nerdland’ a shot if you have the opportunity, although it’s probably not necessary to go out of your way to immediately do so.
Overall, ‘Nerdland’ is a dark, humorous and often fairly depressing exploration of our modern world and the drastic lengths some are willing to go merely to gain some semblance of fame. The bleak tone is complimented by intentionally crude animation that mirrors the on screen vibe and characters’ disgrace, yet the film suffers from a lacking story and key characters that surpass the level of despicable at times. It’s capably guided by director Chris Prynoski for the most part and features a collection of some notable funny and talented individuals making up the voice cast that includes Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt portraying the two leads. it has its down sides and it has its ups, and while it definitely won’t be for everyone, I would recommend those who appreciate pitch black comedies that are drastically opposite the norm to give ‘Nerdland’ a whirl at some point if you have the chance, it should at the very least be worthy of a watch on cable or a streaming service.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Nerdland’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.35:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and vibrantly colorful presentation from start to finish that looks outstanding down to each and every line of animation, with no faults of any kind to be found within. It holds up flawlessly even during the fast moving and heavily occupied sequences, never causing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected in the slightest, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a phenomenal high definition video presentation from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that should have no trouble pleasing even the pickiest of individuals.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a clean, crisp and sharp audio presentation throughout. It casually utilizes all five available channels in order to send music, plus little background and city elements, along with more throughout the various speakers when suitable, and never conflicting with any additional auditory elements such as dialogue that might happen to be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a solid 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers in every way required of it and shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Nerdland’ doesn’t include any supplemental material whatsoever.