"Slackers," not to be confused with Richard Linklater's innovative 1991 "Slacker," is a standard issue undergrad gross-out comedy notable only for the showy role it provides Jason Schwartzman, well-remembered as "Rushmore's" geeky high school student Max Fischer. Schwartzman, a short, stocky Energizer bunny, is the irrepressible Ethan, who's smart yet hopelessly square, relentlessly obnoxious but fearlessly persistent.
When he catches the film's title characters--Devon Sawa's Dave, Jason Segel's Sam and Michael C. Maronna's Jeff, all seniors nearing graduation--cheating, he blackmails them into promising to land him the girl of his dreams, the beautiful and cool Angela (James King). This is gratifying at first because Dave, Sam and Jeff have cheated their way through college, at times expending more energy in an effort to avoid studying than it would take to actually learn something. The smooth Dave is the natural choice to go after Angela on Ethan's behalf, but he doesn't count on falling in love with her in the process and thereby gaining some perspective. Unfortunately, Dave and his pals are so sleazy and shallow and take up so much screen time that "Slackers" is a turnoff despite Schwartzman's considerable efforts to garner laughs and sustain attention. Post Sept. 11, it's hard to pay attention to the antics of a trio of chiselers who've thrown away the opportunity for a college education, and Sawa, Segel and Maronna have not been able to transcend David H. Steinberg's smart-alecky script and Dewey Nicks' crass direction.
Cameron Diaz, Leigh Taylor-Young and Mamie Van Doren turn up in cameos. The last of the '50s' blond bombshells, Van Doren, who always seemed to take herself less seriously than Marilyn or Jayne, has an outrageous scene that quite possibly only she could get away with--or even attempt at her age.
MPAA rating: R, for strong language and sexual content, and for brief drug use. Times guidelines: The raunch factor is pretty high.
Michael C. Maronna...Jeff
A Screen Gems presentation. Director Dewey Nicks. Producers Neal H. Moritz, Erik Feig. Executive producers Patrice Theroux, Brad Jenkel, Mark Morgan. Screenplay David H. Steinberg. Cinematographer James Bagdonas. Editor Tara Timpone. Music supervisor Amanda Scheer-Demme. Costumes Jennifer Levy. Production designer William Arnold. Set designer Andrew Reed. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.
In general release.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times