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Loser (2000)

  Directed by: Amy Heckerling
Written by: Amy Heckerling
Starring: Jason Biggs, Greg Kinnear, Mena Suvari
Links: Loser on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 5.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Just Another Teen Movie" - a review by mino

Wanky pseudo-intellectual I may be, but put a good teen movie in front of me, and I'll become a screaming fourteen-year-old girl. Sure, I love watching a Three Colours movie as much as the next guy (where the next guy is, say, David Stratton), but I'll be damned if Bring It On (2000) isn't in my top twenty movies of all time too.

The key to a good teen film is to be clever, be funny, and, very importantly, be different. Sure, all teen films follow a formula: but within that formula, there's a lot of room for variation, and you need to make the most of it. Unfortunately, Loser just doesn't do that.

Loser is written and directed by Amy Heckerling, who has the classic teen movie Clueless (1995) on her curriculum vitae: therefore, you'd like to think that Loser could be just as clever, just as funny, and just as innovative as Clueless. Alas, it's not, and while it's not the lamest thing you'll ever watch, it's just too formulaic to be very enjoyable.

The one really good thing about Loser is the presence of Jason Biggs, who is always very entertaining, even in otherwise mediocre movies, like American Pie (1999). Biggs is the loser of the title, a country bumpkin who finds his way to New York University on a scholarship, and instantly becomes the most unpopular man on campus. Predictably, he falls in love with a hot young thing, who in this case is in love with her ultra-slimy literature professor, played surprisingly well by Greg Kinnear, who I've never had much time for before now.

Some predictable courting and hijinks ensue as the loser pursues the hot young thing, and none of it is, frankly, very interesting. Not helping is the fact that aforementioned hot young thing is played by Mena Suvari, who I personally believe is a poor actress at best: her turn in American Beauty (1999) has done wonders for her career, despite the fact that she was the one actor in American Beauty who wasn't actually any good.

There are some very amusing guest appearances in LoserDan Aykroyd, for example, and Alan Cumming. There are even some good cameos from people who I normally wouldn't find amusing, but are used well, like Andy Dick and David Spade.

Disturbingly, I kind of found myself slightly obsessed with Jimmi Simpson, who plays Biggs' hard-partying roommate. You see, young Jimmi sounds exactly like (and doesn't look at all unlike) Christian Slater, to the extent that I was momentarily wondering if it actually was Slater, under some sort of miracle prosthetic. Of course, given the constant comparisons between Slater and Jack Nicholson, it all gets a bit hairy if you start wondering if maybe Jimmi is actually Jack in a Christian Slater prosthetic, in turn wrapped in a Jimmi prosthetic. It was at this stage that I needed a good lie-down.

See, this shows you how bored I was.

Anyway, Loser is an OK film, but nothing great. It rarely, if ever, deviates from the norm, even when it really should — the ending in particular. While the whole ending was a bit of a rushed cop-out, the worst bit was the old stereotypical ‘what happened to…’ subtitling, which is a time-honoured device, but should really only be used when you can actually, you know, think of something funny to put in it. A disappointing end to a disappointing movie.

mino gives this movie 5 out of 10.
Review created on Wed 11 Feb 2004

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