Is there room in Manhattan for a decent kid? Can a young woman see past a cad to true love? Paul, from rural upstate, comes to New York City for college. To keep his scholarship, he must study hard and do well. That makes him a loser to his partying roommates who connive to kick him out of their suite. He's assigned a room in an animal hospital. In class he meets Dora, a pretty coed who needs a job to pay for school, and who's the very young lover of their sarcastic and selfish lit professor. When Dora is slipped some drugs at a party, Paul nurses her back to health, and a friendship follows. For Paul, though, it's more than friendly feelings. Can they work things out for them to become a truly lucky couple?Written by
Loser is a breath of fresh air considering the amount of vulgar comedies (American Pie, Road Trip, and Scary Movie) that have been released recently. It relies on little sex and profanity, but instead has its success rooted firmly in the acting and charisma of young stars Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari.
The film centers around Paul Tannek (Jason Biggs), an all-around nice guy from a small town who is now going to college in a big city due to a scholarship he's received. His personality is a contrast to most people around him, particularly his roommates, who like to party all night and taunt Paul. Because of his kindness and his apt studying each night, he's considered a loser.
Yet, not everything is bad for Paul. He's met a girl, Dora (Mena Suvari), in his European Literature class, and he develops a fast crush on her. However, he doesn't know that she's secretly having a relationship with the class's teacher, Professor Alcott (Greg Kinnear). After some mishaps involving a party, Paul begins to develop a strong friendship with Dora and his feelings for her begin to go even farther as he wonders if he even has a chance to have a relationship with her.
A warning before watching this film: if you're expecting similar antics from Biggs in American Pie, prepared to be disappointed. Loser is a contrast to that movie. It prefers to develop relationships rather than put in some sort of sex joke, and it's all the better for it. True, there aren't exactly a huge amount of belly laughs in the proceedings, but it's always entertaining, fast, witty, and charming.
As I said before, the movie's success lies squarely on the shoulders of Jason Biggs and Mena Suvari, and they're as good as ever. Biggs nice-guy performance is his best to date and he creates one of the most genuinely likeable and true characters I've seen in movies for a while. Suvari is equally appealing as the role of a girl whose also kind but is mixed up in the wrong relationship. The chemistry between them is strong and the best praise I can give this film is the fact that I cared for their characters and wanted to see them get together.
The other performances are suitable enough. The other standout is probably Greg Kinnear as the professor, whose smug performance makes hims a character easy to hate. There are also appearances from well-known comics like Andy Dick and David Spade, and their brief cameos bring a few good laughs.
Amy Heckerling wrote and directed this film, and while her script may be rather predictable, her direction is still good and she shows the same talent she had in the 80's. This may not be her funniest film, but it's easily the most likeable.
Loser also has other little elements that work to its advantage. The film features a good soundtrack, playing songs that are actually appealing and also work with the scenes and situations it's played along with.
With standout performances, excellent chemistry between the two leads, Loser is a great date movie and one you certainly cannot pass up if you're a fan of both Biggs and Suvari. This is definitely the most pleasant surprise I've seen in a long time.
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