Slackers (15)

Review by Tim Minor

CYRANO de Bergerac meets Ferris Bueller's Day Off in this US college comedy that pits the big-men-on-campus against the geek.

The big men on this particular campus are Dave (Devon Sawa), Sam (Jason Segel) and Jeff (Michael Maronna). These three "roomies" lie, cheat and steal their way through college only to find their final Finals scam is about to be busted by the irritating nerd Ethan (Jason Schwartzman), who, I guarantee, you will have no sympathy for by the end of the film.

The love story revolves around the beautiful and multi-talented Angela (played by the beautiful and multi-talented James King) who is the object of Ethan's somewhat peculiar desires. Ethan's amour extends to constructing a doll made out of strands of Angela's hair; which kinda confirms that Ethan isn't quite right in the head.

The whole affair begins when Ethan discovers the three slackers' plan to cheat their way through their Final exams and sets about blackmailing them into getting him the girl. With all their skill in deception and distortion Ethan figures it should be a synch for them to get him the object of his desires.

Figuring that this will be the easiest con they've pulled, the scamsters agree and look forward once again to passing their finals without putting in the work. Unfortunately, Dave also falls for the girl (and she for him) and so the group is thrown back into the fray and subsequently breaks apart.

Jason Segel and Michael Maronna, who play Dave's partners in crime, are excellent and upstage the two central characters who fight for Angela's affections. They get some of the best scenes and look like they had a lot of fun making the film. We haven't seen much of these two over here but this may change soon - Maronna is due to appear in Michael Lehmann's forthcoming 40 Days and 40 Nights, starring Josh Hartnett.

The film is certainly amusing. There are frequent fantasy scenes featuring a singing penis, a three-way lick-fest (lucky, lucky Jason Schwartzman) and a sequence portraying the friendship of the "slackers". Also included is much locker room humour (fart and knob gags aplenty) and classic lines such as "Dude, is it true you have to be a gay porno actor before getting to go with women? Oh man that sucks!"

There's also old-lady-nudity, but I'll leave that to your imagination.

The film ends with a potentially painful scene where Dave confesses all to the heartbroken Angela in front of a lecture hall filled with nervous Finals students. Fortunately, the cliché of the moment isn't lost on the filmmakers and so it is handled with a fair degree of sarcasm and you don't have to bite your nails all the way.

James King alone makes this film worth seeing, and you never know, you might laugh a little too.