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Overall Rating
2.73

Awesome: 12.12%
Worth A Look: 27.27%
Average: 15.15%
Pretty Bad: 12.12%
Total Crap33.33%

2 reviews, 21 user ratings


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Slackers
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by Alexander Chancey

"The anti-Rushmore."
1 stars

Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson should get a hold of Jason Schwartzman and give him a beating for wasting his talents in Slackers, a "comedy" that flip-flops unevenly between the real and the surreal with almost none of it being funny. This story of a college geek who blackmails cheating seniors into getting him the girl of his dreams is so inane that it makes Kung Pow: Enter the Fist look like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by comparison.

Dave (Devon Sawa) is the ringleader of a group of intelligent but lazy miscreants who expend more effort cheating on their exams than if they had actually studied for them. While copying a Physics midterm for his roommate/partner-in-crime Sam (Jason Segel), he is smitten by the beauty of Angela (James King) and leaves her his number (like you haven't done that before). As it turns out, Angela is also the object of the affection of Cool Ethan (Schwartzman), a psychotic, obnoxious, stereotypical geek that no one would ever dream of dating; Dave steals Ethan's seat next to Angela and goes on his shitlist.

Ethan finds the proof of the cheating and threatens to get Dave, Sam, and their third roomie, Jeff (Michael Maronna, the only amusing character in the film) expelled unless they convince Angela to date Ethan. While trying to persuade Angela to like an unlikable person, Dave finds himself falling in love with Angela, who responds to him in kind. But how long can they keep this up until Ethan finds out? And how long can Dave keep his relationship from his friends, whose futures hang by a thread? And how long can Dave keep the deal he made with Ethan from Angela? You can set your watch to all of it.

Slackers could very well have turned out better than it did. However, instead of being put in the same category of mildly raunchy but enjoyable college comedies - like Road Trip or the king of the genre, Animal House - it falls into a category where the outrageous blue humor has no context. Other than hurting Schwartzman's promising career, this film will be best remembered for the scene in which Ethan sponge bathes a topless (not to mention 70 year-old) Mamie Van Doren; some things, for better or worse, will stick in your mind forever. Add Jeff's singing penis and you have a whole lot of gags that make Tom Green's "Backwards Man" sequence in Freddy Got Fingered (the guiltiest of my guilty pleasures) seem on par with Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First" routine. And when it is elaborately described in the end how the three friends set Ethan up to take as hard a fall as awaits them, you wonder why they don't just steal back the evidence and kick this kid's sorry ass.

Jason Schwartzman, who played a similar, but better defined, character in Wes Anderson's damn-near perfect Rushmore, pole-vaults way over the top with his performance as Cool Ethan. His talent is evident in Slackers but all the innate charm that he brought to his role in Rushmore has vanished without a trace. This film might have been bearable if he brought some of that along; as it stands, this role may have people wondering, unfairly, if Schwartzman is a one-hit wonder, so to speak.

The rest of the cast are throwaways as well, save for two. Michael Maronna, as Jeff, is the only one who hits any right notes with the random humor; like Schwartzman, he deserves better, but is the best at making the best of his character. And if anyone else can be considered to shine in this film, it's James King, as she finally has a chance to prove she's more than just a model. Though not given much to do except sit there, be pined over, and look pretty, she manages to make more than two faces throughout the film, which is one more than most people would expect. Maybe, if she takes better roles in the future, people will forget she was ever in this.

Indie legend Richard Linklater (Waking Life) is planning to pursue legal action over the title of Slackers, much too close to the name of his brilliant cult classic Slacker (singular). I would advise him against it, if only to keep his name away from this film any more than it already has been. But then, if anything good can be said about Slackers (plural), it's that it knows who to cheat from.

link directly to this review at https://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5745&reviewer=269
originally posted: 02/05/02 04:40:40
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User Comments

8/29/09 mr.mike It was OK. 3 stars
8/01/05 Dr. Zoidberg unfunny in the coldest, squirming, putrid way 1 stars
7/28/05 Jeff Anderson Terrible & repellent, but undeniably funny. Schwartzman is the main standout. FUDGE!!!!!!!! 3 stars
3/11/05 The Sorrow Only saving grace was a breif appearance by Gina Gershon... 2 stars
9/29/04 Richard Buchanan uncasually and inconsistently funny 2 stars
7/14/03 Samuel Justus The penis in the sock made me a lil nauseas but over all great film!Devon is the man! 5 stars
7/07/03 jezzika omg micheal maronna from pete and pete was in this lol i cant see him in a rated R film 4 stars
10/02/02 John McNew SUCH DREK! 1 stars
9/17/02 Kristina This movie kicks ass cause cool ethan is awesome 5 stars
8/31/02 special K after Rushmore I expect better from Schwartzman. Pure shit 1 stars
8/19/02 .Choadushouse. I really don't see why this film was so shit on. The characters rocked and it's hilarious! 4 stars
6/21/02 Janx Much better than expected. A good amount of laughs throughout. 3 stars
6/10/02 The Bomb 69 UGH!!! Few laughs keep it from one star 2 stars
3/14/02 Roy Smith "Parker Lewis Can't Lose" meets "Jawbreaker" - waste of time. 2 stars
3/06/02 Zeb Smith :) 5 stars
2/20/02 siro It had fucking PETE from "Pete & Pete" in it, for Christ's sake!!! HA!!! 4 stars
2/07/02 Ferris Hilarious, creative, and even some thoughtful filmmaking. Devon Sawa is underrated 5 stars
2/07/02 Andrew Carden Unfunny Teen Flick With A Bunch Of Stupid One-Liners and Some Really Cheesy Love Scenes. 1 stars
2/04/02 Mag it has a cheesy ending 3 stars
2/02/02 Joe Deblow *SIGH* 1 stars
2/02/02 some guy meh, 3 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  01-Feb-2002 (R)

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