Lloyd the Conqueror
(out of 4)
Coming out from behind his trademark Coke-bottle glasses, the Trailer Park Boys’ favourite foil is unrecognizable here as Derek, a surly community college history teacher who, as a sideline, also commands a dark army of wizard warriors, orcs and trolls.
They call it “LARPing” — for live-action role-playing — an excuse for particularly enthusiastic fantasy gamers to dress up in cardboard armour and fake fur and whack away at each other with foam swords. And why not? It looks like fun, and it gets them outside and out of their parents’ basement.
It has gotten to the point where no one even wants to take him on. In an effort to drum up some harmless competition, Derek blackmails three slacker students — played by episodic actors Evan Williams, Jesse Reid and Scott Paley — into reluctantly joining the fray.
Williams, who looks like he just came off the cover of a 1970s teen magazine, must prod his essentially inert roomies into action, a half-hearted and comically clumsy initial engagement that ends predictably in humiliation and defeat.
They decide to take things more seriously — their free-ride college funding is at stake — and seek out the council of the sage White Wizard, also known as the guy who owns the local gaming store. He is played by bearded uber-nerd Brian Posehn, whom you may remember from the Sarah Silverman Program or Just Shoot Me.
Smith can take most of the credit for that — with his slicked-back hair and perma-sneer, he is the living incarnation of vain, self-serving Machavellian evil. All things being relative. This is, after all, a story about people who dress up funny and run around in fields. How evil can you really be?
The rest of the cast is appealing enough, though the romantic side-plot between team leader Williams and Cassandra (Tegan Moss), an attractive martial-arts instructor, never quite gets off the ground.
I’m not sure how actual LARPers are going to respond to the movie. I suspect fairly well, since they are not really being ridiculed, but rather celebrated for their contagiously unrestrained enthusiasm.