I thought when I popped in Game Changers that I was going to see a nice lighthearted comedy about two best buds who get back into competitive gaming.  I was wrong.  But what I got was a much better, much deeper film full of terrific acting and an actual solid screenplay.

 

The film starts out with two very young friends named Bryan and Scott who seem to excel at gaming.  Even though they are very young they get into the competitive gaming circuit where they end up making a ton of money.
After the first few minutes the film skips forward to Bryan (Brian Bernys) and Scott (Jake Albarella) now in their late 20’s working for the IT company that belongs to Bryan’s dad.  Their days of being e-sports legends playing competitive Halo are long gone and now they are basically biding time working for “the man” but still having fun playing Magic: The Gathering or Halo’s Capture the Flag mode.  Well Scott along with his co-worker Alan (Dominic Luongo) and his friend Gus (Matt Chavez) seem to be having fun.
But Bryan just seems pissed off.  Pissed off at work.  Pissed off at the beautiful co-worker Natalie (Andrea Andolina) that he’s sleeping with.  Just pissed off all around.  Bryan decides that he wants to get back into competitive gaming.  Scott doesn’t really want to play but kind of goes along out of loyalty for his best friend.  Along with Alan, Bryan recruits Cameron (Jacob Kahn) one of the best World of Warcraft players locally.  The four then start practicing day and night so they can do some sort of world championship WOW tournament thing…???
Preparing for this tournament things proves detrimental to Bryan’s life.  He forgoes his job, relationship, and everything else to try and win.  Basically at all costs.  Natalie tries her best to try and keep things interesting between her and Bryan but eventually she gets tired of his verbal abuse and jets.

Natalie’s friend Kim (Sara Marioles) starts with the IT company and instantly takes a liking to Scott as they bond over their love of comic books and art.  Unfortunately with Bryan’s drive to prepare for the WOW tournament it doesn’t allow Scott to have the time to get to know Kim like he would like to.  Which is a damn shame because she’s way pretty and way into him. My expectations of the film at this point would be that these guys would prepare for this tournament, have a falling out, get back together, get their love lives together, and go to the tournament ready to win.
Here’s the kicker…there is no gaming tournament to go to.  I mean there is a gaming tournament but in the end gaming only ends up playing a very small part in this film.  The film is really about the drive to accomplish something while alienating everyone else and not really caring about anything.  It is about friendship and how really important it is.  It’s about not taking things for granted.

 

Even though Game Changers wasn’t anything like what I was expecting I will say that I really enjoyed this film a lot.  I thought the acting of both Brian Beryns, who played a dickhead asshole really well, and Jake Albarella, the guy just trying to be a good bud but really just trying to go on with his life, were really outstanding.  They both had some passion.  Beryns was really able to pull off the drive of his character.  Albarella was really able to show how conflicted his character was.  Watching the film you could honestly believe that these two characters had been friends for years.  Hell you would even think that these two actors have been friends for years.
Sara Marioles was super cute as the new girl who is really into Albarella.  At first I thought her interest in the character felt a bit contrived but near the end of the second act the two had this great interaction in a comic store that I felt was really helped the storyline.  These events lead right into the third act so you really needed to buy the chemistry between Marioles and Albrarella if you were going to buy into what happens.  I bought it so it made the third act all the more satisfying.  Marioles was amazing in this film and I can’t wait to see what role she lands next.
If you go into the film expecting a dramedy about two guys gaming then you may be surprised like I was.  But if you go into the film expecting a good drama about friendship, the bonds you form when you are children, and how lives can shift and change then you will not be disappointed one bit.  Honestly I could relate much more to a drama about childhood friends and the hardship on that friendship then I ever could about two buds immersed into the world of e-gaming.
I guess the only other thing I have to add is that I really think that Beryns and Mark from Fanboy Flick look alike.  It doesn’t impact the movie one single bit but I really believe Mark and Brian could totally play brothers in the Game Changers sequel.  Just sayin’.
All in all I had great fun with this flick and really was shocked on how well writer/director Rob Imbs was able to delve into relationships.  Game Changers is an amazing look at relationships, gaming, and friendship.  As long as you can accept that gaming is only a plot device in Game Changers you’re going to have a good time.

 

RANK: A

 

 

So the flick sounds up your alley?  You can find it at Amazon, iTunes, and PSN.