Perverse comedy. The gang goes wild at university...
dir Dewey Nicks
scr David H Steinberg
with Devon Sawa, Jason Schwartzman, James King, Michael Maronna, Jason Segel, Laura Prepon, Joe Flaherty, Sam Anderson, Mamie Van Doren, Leigh Taylor Young, Gedde Watanabe, Cameron Diaz
release US 1.Feb.02; UK 10.May.02
Alliance Atlantis
01/US 1h26

3 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
small slip-up, small blackmailer This is not your average low-brow university comedy; these filmmakers have a much more twisted sense of humour, pulling laughs from the most surprising places to liven up what is essentially just a sweet romance. Dave (Sawa) and his pals (Maronna and Segel) have all kinds of scams going on at their university--cheating on exams, manipulating the system, tormenting the professors. So when the self-styled "Cool" Ethan (Schwartzman) discovers their secret, he threatens them with exposure ... unless they help him land the girl of his dreams, Angela (King). But there are a few wrinkles: In the process, Dave falls for Angela himself; and it soon emerges that Ethan is actually a psycho-stalker!

The film's wacky and stylish approach is reminiscent of One Night at McCool's--both films play on the man's point of view with wicked fantasy sequences (including, here, an outrageous cameo from Diaz ... and it's worth staying through the final credits for more). Performances are rather uneven, but still manage to work--Sawa and King play it virtually straight, while everyone else scales the heights of perverse comedy. Schwartzman's Ethan is an absolutely hilarious bundle of tics and obsessions ... and yet still freakishly adorable. The cutesy rom-com at the core of the film isn't terribly involving, and the neverending attempts to add vulgarity and zaniness get a bit wearing, but at least the novice filmmakers have originality on their side. The humour is refreshingly unexpected, catching us off guard with its warped wit and breezy performances. And the music is also refreshing, avoiding the usual pop tracks in lieu of clever cover versions and a few outrageous originals (written and performed by Schwartzman). Just when you feared--hoped?--the gross-out comedy had died, Slackers comes along to breathe new life into the genre.
adult themes and situations, language, vulgarity cert 15 20.Sep.01

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
small slip-up, small blackmailer send your review to Shadows... "I thought this was a very funny film and also had a great story with a lot of emotion. Kind of reminded me of the first American Pie movie. Good for a ton of laughs. And a lot of naked women." --Barry, Phoenix 29.Jan.02
2001 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall