“Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” is, first and foremost, a gift for fans of the decades-old tabletop game
“You’re not a lot of fun, are you,” notes barbarian Holga (Michelle Rodriguez) to brave fighter Xenk (Regé-Jean Page) in the new “Dungeons & Dragons” film, making two jokes at once.
The first is that Xenk, a paladin (or holy knight) in “D &D” lingo, is everything BUT fun — gorgeous, noble, heroic, smart, and did we mention gorgeous? He’s just REALLY not fun, or funny. He’s so not funny, it’s hilarious.
The second, broader joke is that “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves,” hotly awaited by devotees of the decades-old role-playing game, makes darned sure to be fun, and funny — enough to laugh at itself. And that’s the thing that makes it work.
At least, for a newbie like me. I’ve never played the game, I confess. But this is a movie, not a game, and I’m here to tell you how it works for over two hours at the multiplex. Which is to say, surprisingly, sometimes delightfully well — even if you have no clue what a paladin or Red Wizard or Harper is, or if the term “Dungeon Master” sends your mind straight to “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
The most obvious reason for this success, besides fleet-footed direction by Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley, is star Chris Pine, whose sunny charisma and smooth knack for comedy, plus an ability to seem like he’s both inside the movie and outside looking in, keeps everything bubbling.
He’s ably assisted by Rodriguez, plu