There are exactly three reasons why this competition doc is much more enjoyable than The King of Kong, this summer’s other film about major-league nerds making fools of themselves:
- Unlike The King of Kong, which wimps out in the third act, Air Guitar Nation tells a complete story, from the inception of the U.S. Air Guitar Championships and qualifying rounds in New York and L.A. to the World Championships in Oulu, Finland.
- The contestants are in on the joke. King of Kong’s joystick wigglers Steve Wiebe and Billy Mitchell seem to think beating a thirty-year-old video game actually matters. When C-Diddy and Björn Türoque do their thing, they know they’re being dorks, and they love every minute.
- Nobody but the judges sit and watch guys jump over flaming barrels for two hours, waiting for them to screw up. Unlike Donkey Kong, Air Guitar is a spectator sport, and there’s always a crowd ready to rock.
Air Guitar Nation. Alexandra Lipsitz, 2006. ***