The Loser (2000) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Jason Biggs continues his quest to become the Curtis Armstrong of his generation.

This time he isn't the quirky sidekick who can't get laid, but rather the lead nerd who can't get laid, and he's reunited with fellow American Pie star Mena Suvari in this film about a nice guy from upstate who's much too naive for the slick university world in Greenwich Village, which is filled with rich connivers, date rape drugs, cosmopolitan but callous professors, etc.

How bad is it? When he meets his new roommates, they look at his hat and ask if the cast of Fargo had a garage sale. That was a good start, but pretty much the only funny line in the movie.

Suvari and Biggs are kinda cute as the warm hearted, wide-eyed innocents in a cold squinty-eyed world, but I got a little tired of them cutely tossing food at each other and playing with kittens, and bringing about world peace in their scenes together.

Biggs and Suvari become friends at first, he falling in love, she not noticing. Call it sort of a When Harry Met Lolita kinda thing.

She's infatuated with a handsome and glib professor, the brilliant but soulless type of guy who ultimately represents every female movie character's ultimate nightmare, although they never see it coming.


So here was her choice. Let's compare:

Kinnear: Brilliant and handsome, but treats her like his maid, cheats on her, ignores her, and is seen to exhibit sadistic cruelty and insensitivity in his dealings with students.

Biggs: Just fairly smart and average looking, but treats her and everyone else with unselfish respect and kindness, shares her tastes, works hard at everything, demonstrates integrity and sincerity, saves her life once, and spends his spare time playing nursemaid to helpless kitties and puppies.

Let's see, which one should she choose? I wonder why it's always so obvious to us from our seats, and not to them.

It's a poor film, actually, a real disappointment considering it was written and directed by Amy Heckerling ("Fast Times"). This was her first film since "Clueless", featured two hot American Pie stars, and had a $20 million budget, so the studio must have expected a hit, and force-fed it to 2000 screens.

DVD info from Amazon.

Anamorphic widescreen, 1.85:1, enhanced for 16x9, plus the 4:3 version.

minor features - a "making of", a music video parody

Unfortunately it was lame. The Heckerling that showed up was the director of "Look Who's Talking Too" and "Johnny Dangerously", not the one from "Clueless" and "Fast Times". Talk about a wide range of scores at IMDb - "Fast Times" and "Clueless" are about 7/10, solid near-classic status, but "Look Who's Talking Too" is an exceptionally bad 3.5. "Loser" checks in with 5.0, in the middle of the pack, generally a score indicating a barely watchable film, and accurately so in this case.

How good can a movie be when Dan Ackroyd gives the most normal and human performance?

I'm being unfair. Ackroyd really did great, very credible in a small part, and the two young stars were OK. But, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker, once they got there, there was no there there. It's a coming-of-age romantic comedy with no edge and very little humor.

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: two stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 3/4. Berardinelli was outlying far from the curve on this one. Most people found it lame.

  • Rotten Tomatoes summary. 28% positive reviews overall, and a 23% from the top critics.

The People Vote ...

  • With their votes ... IMDB summary: consistent with the critics, IMDb voters score it 5.0.
  • With their dollars ... it did okay, worse than expected, but not awful. They spent $20 million to make it, and released it on 2000 screen opening weekend, so they hoped for a major success, but settled for a break-even venture. It did $15 million at the US box.

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