tek's rating:

Loser (PG-13)
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Caution: potential spoilers.

This came out in 2000, I guess. I'm reviewing it in 2011. I just bought it today on DVD, but I forget when I first saw it (on VHS). It was years ago, anyway, but it may have been a few years after it was first released. Anyway, I really liked it back then, and I still really like it. It was never what you'd call a hit, but such things hardly matter to me. Um... also I should say I was a bit unsure how to categorize it. I'm putting it in the “quirky” section, but I'm also linking to the review from the "rom-com" section. Anyway, one thing I definitely need to say is it has a ton of awesome music in it, but I've never been able to find a soundtrack for the movie. Which is a damn shame. I suppose I could just get all the songs elsewhere and if I feel the need, burn a CD myself... or not. I dunno. I'm just sayin'... a ton of cool music, okay?

As for the story, I find it quirky (obvi), funny and clever, and really sweet. Um, it's directed by Amy Heckerling. The one other movie of hers I've seen so far is Clueless, which was pretty popular. She also made “Fast Times at Ridgemont High,” which I definitely intend to see someday, and which I also think of as popular, though it's kind of before my time (not, you know, before I was born, but certainly before I was old enough to be watching movies like that). And um, other movies I want to see. Anyway, I think this movie deserves to be more popular than it is. It's hard to say it's too smart to be popular, because there are smart movies which are popular. Same goes for quirky. I read something about a scene that was changed before the movie was released, but not before inspiring negative reviews... but I can't say how that would have changed my appreciation of the movie (for better, worse, or no change). I suspect it's most likely that I would have thought it completely unfair for it to inspire negative reviews, but whatever. Maybe that didn't even have anything much to do with the movie not doing well commercially.

But I should just get into what the movie's about. Jason Biggs plays a guy named Paul, who's from the Midwest. He's smart, and sweet, a bit naïve... and he gets a scholarship to NYU, so of course he's apprehensive about fitting in in New York City, where he expects everyone to be more sophisticated than he is. As it turns out, his roommates, Adam, Chris, and Noah (who I never really got to recognize or I mean, match names with faces), were basically just at school to party, and had no interest in studying. They were also pretty terrible people, most notably because of their using Rohypnol on girls. But also they really didn't like Paul, who in their eyes is a loser in pretty much everything he does; the way he dresses, his desire to study (to maintain his scholarship), his apparent antisocial behavior, and just generally not fitting in with them. So eventually, they get him kicked out of their dorm room, and he ends up moving into an animal clinic. (Don't ask.) But later they'll want to use him, or rather use his place, for having parties (because of new regulations on campus).

Meanwhile, in spite of not fitting in with anyone in New York, Paul did sort of vaguely befriend this totally cute girl named Dora (Mena Suvari), who was in one of his classes. It turns out that Dora is involved with their teacher, Professor Alcott (Greg Kinnear), and though she thinks they're in love, he clearly doesn't really care about her (I mean beyond sex, of course). It's kind of hard for me to believe someone as smart as Dora could be taken in by the lies of someone like him (I mean, it doesn't even seem like he's really trying, he's just a complete ass and she loves him anyway). But anyway, one night Paul makes a date with Dora to go to a concert... but she never shows up, because she had gone to the party Paul's former roommates were having at his place, and she got roofied. Later, Paul finds her passed out, takes her to the hospital, subsequently looks after her, and from there their friendship blossoms. Of course, he ultimately wants more than friendship, but she's oblivious to this. (Perhaps because she's unfamiliar with how gentlemen behave, as it doesn't seem to me like she's ever come in contact with one before now.)

Anyway, I don't want to give away any more of the plot, but you get the idea. And I'm sure you can essentially guess how it ends. But like I said, it really is a funny and clever movie, and I really care about Paul and Dora. I like them. Oh, and there are several cool cameos by various people I'm sure you'll know from other stuff. And um yeah, I dunno what else to say. It's a smart, funny, cute, charming, sweet, quirky, romantic little movie that deserves to be more popular than it is. And it should have a damn soundtrack.

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