Movie Review: Netflix Comedy ‘Supercon’ Cheats its Audience
A quartet of hard-luck guests at an comic book & entertainment convention who have been kicked to to the curb decide to up and rob the joint in Supercon, a new Netflix comedy now streaming worldwide.
One problem: it takes 45 minutes of screentime for them to latch onto the idea, and the first half of Supercon represents an aimless and grating tour of the titular event so devoid of substance its likely to ward any viewer away from attending a fan convention in the future.
Supercon does pick up a little steam as the heist plot kicks into gear during the second half, along with the introduction of a fifth member of the crew, played by no less than John Malkovich. But by then, most viewers will have already moved on to something else.
Stand-up comedian Russell Peters is ostensibly the star here, as Keith Mahar, a one-time child star on a popular 1980s TV show who is now broke, divorced, and needs to take a Greyhound to attend the latest Supercon, a shoestring-budget Comic-Con-like convention that brings together C-list celebs and comic book artists.
Keith despises his claim to fame, a turban-wearing sidekick akin to Indiana Jones’ Short Round who played second-fiddle to 1980s superstar Adam King (Clancy Brown) on the long-forgotten TV show. But it’s now his one source of income, and he begrudgingly attends the conference - minus the turban.
After a physical altercation with King at Supercon, however, he’s thrown out of the event by greedy organizer Gil Bartell (Mike Epps) alongside friends and fellow stars Matt Wheeler (Ryan Kwanten) and Brock Hutchinson (Brooks Braselman), and comic writer Allison McNeeley (Maggie Grace). Then, they decide to take some revenge.
Peters might be the most popular stand-up comic currently working, but playing the straight man in Supercon he has precious little to work with. Nor does the movie offer much to the charismatic Grace or Kwanten; only Braselman, in his feature debut, gets much to do with some gross-out comic relief.
The film does, however, offer up a nice heel turn - and plenty of screentime - to Clancy Brown, who makes the most with his villainous 80s star. And Malkovich elevates the proceedings whenever his disenfranchised writer is on the screen, which isn’t much.
Supercon is the feature debut of behind-the-scenes documentary filmmaker Zak Knutson, who previously worked with Kevin Smith and co-directed an excellent 2013 doc about iconic director John Milius.
But while the movie aims for the go-for-broke spirit of Smith’s early work like Clerks and Mallrats, it replaces those film's rough-hewn charm with a glossy veneer and precious little substance, comedic or otherwise. There’s just not much going on here, making Supercon a real drag despite its short runtime - and a near-total waste of its on-screen talent.