If only we could point and laugh at Scott (Sam Eidson), the master of a game he’s created, a Dungeons & Dragons-type RPG populated by guys who won’t be getting a date for Saturday night. It’s corny, but they’re us, especially Scott, the leader who rules with an iron fist. The game at the center of Zero Charisma is the one thing he has control over—he’s been fired from his job at a gaming and comics store and lives with his grandmother—and damn it, people will play by the rules. When a new player, the charming hipster Miles (Garrett Graham), joins the game, his presence throws Scott into a tailspin. Everyone loves Miles. He has charisma—something even RPG characters have that Scott lacks—and soon Scott is losing control of his beloved game. His solution is to explode and treat everyone like assholes, but there’s something completely believable in Andrew Matthews’ screenplay and Eidson’s performance. Gaming, love, work, whatever—when we lose control, sometimes we go nuts. The question is what Scott will do once everything starts slipping away. Adapt and survive or resist and die? Zero Charisma is slight, but it knows its characters, culture, and the things that make us human. It’s a lot of fun. (DR)
Jean Cocteau Cinema, NR, 87 min.