Paul Rudd and Patton Oswalt Satirize Hollywood in Animated ‘Nerdland’
Welcome to “Nerdland,” the first feature film from director Chris Prynoski, head of Titmouse Inc. animation studio. The feature cartoon spotlights Hollywood hopes of fame through the adventures of roommates Patton Oswalt as the voice of Elliot, and Paul Rudd as the voice of John, while they plot to make it big over the course of a single day.
“Get your hopes up, it’s gonna be great!” croons the opening song, introducing the cast in neon-hued splashes of animated raunchiness on an assortment of billboards. “Nerdland” wisely parodies itself at the outset, purporting to make true statements about the difficulty of finding success in Hollywood without taking itself too seriously. And so, the film opens up with Elliot, fast asleep on the couch, inadvertently rocking “Killfight: The Game” with his unconscious face pressed against the controller. His best friend and roommate, John, wakes him up to tell him he has a super-important meeting with the super-famous Brett Anderson (Reid Scott), and Elliot, inspired by his friend’s go-getter attitude, plops himself down to construct yet another screenplay.
After telling himself what’s-the-point, no-one-cares-about-my-genius, life-is-meaningless-anyway, Elliot composes about three sentences of his script (Rip Van Winkle shows up to a modern-day strip club and, appalled, goes on a killing spree, end scene). Meanwhile, John, who had attempted to worm his way into a press junket to give Elliot’s screenplay and his own headshots to Brett Anderson, is escorted away in disgrace.
Elliot and John head over to the local mall and attempt to woo ample-bosomed Valley girls Sally (Kate Micucci) and Linda (Riki Lindhome), with tales of wild success. Elliot and John finally settle down at a grungy diner to discuss their frustrations, lamenting the success of viral video stars and the random guy who created an empire out of something called “Bloops.” Sure, John and Elliot yearn for fame. But they want to achieve it the right way. “Why not us?” John rallies. “Let’s become common men in uncommon circumstances. Let’s be heroes!”
John and Elliot immediately set out to become famous by the day’s end, embarking on increasingly ridiculous quests to get their faces plastered all over the small screen. As the absurdity mounts, so does the humor, with a witty screenplay that entertains at every turn and an animation style that feels both similar and unusual. Oswalt and Rudd are impeccably cast, both comic actors gifted in the art of self-deprecation, and the supporting players pull their weight as well – Hannibal Buress has a memorable recurring cameo as The King, owner of a local “collector’s emporium,” perpetually dressed in a crown, a cape and a nerdy T-shirt. Indeed, he is the King in “Nerdland.”
“Nerdland” opens in select theaters Dec. 6.