Film Reviews

Cheaters Never Win

Despite an energetic performance from Rushmore's Jason Schwartzman and a flash of nudity from Pearl Harbor babe James King, Slackers sucks. There's simply no one to like: Schwartzman's lovesick nerd Ethan is revealed to be an obsessive psychopath, while the cool guys he must compete with for the love of King (Devon Sawa, Jason Segel and Michael C. Maronna) are lazy losers who've cheated their way through college, with Sawa's Dave in particular representing the worst kind of college "stud," a slick hustler whose good looks and occasional flashes of sincerity justify his emptiness. We're supposed to root for him and King to get together? Sorry, no.

While it offers a more believable scenario than the standard revenge-of-the-nerd fare, the leads have to be more affable than this if we're to relate or care. Director Dewey Nicks, a former fashion photographer, tries to load the film with artsy fantasy bits that don't work, while American Pie 2 scribe David H. Steinberg adds a series of gross-outs that fail to shock, and render the film even less likable.

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Luke Y. Thompson