Loser

A sweet-natured and refreshingly uncartoonlike look at the trials of an unworldly Midwestern college boy negotiating his freshman year at NYU, this low-key comedy once again proves that Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH) can be trusted not to embrace the tedious clich├ęs of teen films. Farm boy Paul Tannek (Jason Biggs), the first member...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A sweet-natured and refreshingly uncartoonlike look at the trials of an unworldly Midwestern college boy negotiating his freshman year at NYU, this low-key comedy once again proves that Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH) can be trusted

not to embrace the tedious clichés of teen films. Farm boy Paul Tannek (Jason Biggs), the first member of his family to get into college, has earned a full scholarship to the school of his dreams. But he's nervous about fitting in with sophisticated New York City types; they may get

Seinfeld, but Paul just doesn't get that ironic humor thing. Enter Paul's dorm mates, Chris (Thomas Sadoski), Adam (Zak Orth) and Noah (Jimmi Simpson), a boorish, conniving pack of party-hearty rich boys who regard classes as unwelcome distractions from the business of getting wasted and

getting laid; they label the studious Paul a loser and conspire to get him thrown out of the dorm. Worse, Paul has fallen hard for Dora (Mena Suvari), a smart, pretty girl in his English class; trouble is, she just wants to be friends because she's having a clandestine affair with their teacher,

the condescending Professor Alcott (Greg Kinnear). The rest is just complications: crossed signals, bad timing and weaselly supporting characters conspiring to keep the perfectly matched leads apart. What makes this movie stand out is its relative subtlety: Paul doesn't start out a hellish geek

and turn into Joe Cool. He's just an ordinary kid, and Biggs is pitch-perfect casting: Not too handsome, not too smooth, but sweet and funny and sharper than he at first seems — the kind of guy who becomes better looking as you get to know him. Among the film's more unexpected lessons: You

never know when animal husbandry skills are going to get you in good with a girl.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: A sweet-natured and refreshingly uncartoonlike look at the trials of an unworldly Midwestern college boy negotiating his freshman year at NYU, this low-key comedy once again proves that Amy Heckerling (CLUELESS, FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH) can be trusted… (more)

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