Considering how much trouble Kyle Newman's Fanboys has withstood in its travels to the multiplexes, I pretty much expected the flick to be an amiable mess. It's been widely reported that the comedy was plagued by multiple reshoots, numerous release date changes, and a producer who (at least temporarily) wanted to suck the heart and soul right out of the flick. So as I walked into an early preview of Fanboys at San Diego Comic-Con, I was hopeful -- but frankly I wasn't expecting a big winner. But hey, aside from a few flat stretches here and there, Fanboys actually has a lot to offer: Strong chemistry among four funny young actors, a "road trip" conceit that flows along quite smoothly, and more Star Wars references than you hardcore geeks will know what to do with. So what I expected to be a big fat mess of a movie turned out to be pretty dang fun -- quadruply so if you happen to be a Star Wars fanatic.

The story is as simple as a road movie needs: Inspired by the unfortunate news that one of their pals is dying of cancer, three hardcore Star Wars geeks decide to travel from Ohio to California, break into Skywalker Ranch, and steal an early print of The Phantom Menace, which isn't due to hit theaters for another six months. (Yes, Fanboys is a period piece: It takes place in 1998.) Sure, that's a pretty broad and silly idea on which to hang a whole movie -- but Fanboys isn't really about logical actions and realistic adventures: It's about four Lucas disciples who get into a series of odd misadventures as they trek* across the country to steal themselves some Star Wars.

(* One of the movie's funniest subplots involves an ongoing war between our Star Wars fanboys, and a nasty group of mega-Trekkies -- the most obnoxious one played by a nearly unrecognizable Seth Rogen. As usual, Rogen steals a handful of scenes without breaking a sweat.)