Loser

"Zero"

Loser Review


What's the world coming to when Amy Heckerling -- writer-director of "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless," and the one true comedic visionary of teen cinema -- is responsible for the most mundane, most out-of-touch college romance of the year?

"Loser" -- the title says it all -- is a milksop love story about a mollycoddle hayseed (Jason Biggs, "American Pie") going off the school in the big city, falling meekly in love with a spunky, punky co-ed with raccoon eyeliner and low self-esteem (Mena Suvari, "American Beauty"), and becoming her pathetic puppy dog while she debases herself in an affair with a manipulative professor (Greg Kinnear).

He's a doormat without an iota of personality, but we're supposed to like him because he's earnest and feel sorry for him because his ruthlessly incisive, party dude roommates take advantage of his friendlessness and naiveté.

She's an irritatingly saccharine and badly-coifed empty vessel who speaks in a perpetual whine, but we're supposed to take her under our collective wing because she's direly in need of rescuing, not having the good sense to walk away from a unconscionable lover who treats her like a prostitute maid.

Hey, get some therapy and give me back my eight bucks.

But the movie's problems hardly begin or end with its beyond-bland leads. Writer-director Heckerling has simply lost her grip on both youth culture and narrative technique.

She uses dated, sniveling alt pop mixed with Randy Newman (!) and Simon and Garfunkel tunes (employed to draw a shameless parallel to "The Graduate") as a crutch to usher "Loser" through a story that turns a blind eye to Suvari's deep-seeded dignity dilemma in favor of a simplistic, implausible geek-as-white knight fantasy.

She doesn't seem to realize how suspiciously fey and five-years-behind Biggs' Beck-wannabe roommates look or how appallingly inappropriate it is to pass off their casual habit of slipping ruffies in girls' drinks as if it were some modern rite of passage.

An embarrassingly inept and downright boring movie that started going wrong almost the minute Heckerling put pen to paper, the characters are cardboard, major scenes feel utterly staged, minor details ring conspicuously false (she uses obvious stock footage of "Cabaret" when Biggs and Suvari sneak into a Broadway play) and every significant plot development serves only to reinforce the perception that the hero is a yutz.

Why does he let his fiendishly mean roommates host a booze-o-rama party at the basement veterinary clinic where he bunks up after they kick him out? (Don't get me started on the absurdity of that development!) Why would he believe them when they sully Suvari's reputation? Why does he stand by while this guileless girl he loves gets screwed and screwed over by an unethical prof? For that matter, what does he even see in this shallow, vanilla rebel with fishnet stockings and without discretion? I mean, besides her being the only person in New York who doesn't laugh at his dorky, plaid, ear-flapped hat?

It's impossible to get behind such a dimwitted chump.

Has Amy Heckerling finally gotten too old to write fresh teen fare with indelible characters? If this wet thud of a movie is any indication, the answer is a resounding "yes."

This already miserable cinematic year made it all the way to July without a clear front-runner for worst picture. But boy oh boy is "Loser" over-qualified for that dubious distinction.



Loser

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 21st July 2000

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures

Reviews

Rotten Tomatoes: 24%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 73

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Paul Tannek, as Dora Diamond, as Literaturprofessor, as Adam

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.