Sometimes I wonder about writing movie reviews. There are movies that really want me to ramble on and on, pontificating, pseudointellectualising, and overanalysing it (which is when I really want to do it). Then there are movies that are so bereft of any solid content that I have nothing to say except empty words. Loser happens to fall among the latter category.

The film is a typical "underdog boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy gets girl" film. In this case, Paul (Jason Biggs) is the boy (a "loser" from a small-town who isn't hip to the New York scene) and Dora (Mena Suvari) is the (goth) girl in love with her Literature professor.

Paul is the first in his family to go to college. He correctly worries about fitting in. We watch him deal with the culture shock, his use-and-abuse roommates, and his heartbreak. The thing is, anyone who acts like Paul in an academic institution today is far from being a loser and is probably the kind of a person who is likely to go off and form a startup and become wildly successful (at least by certain measures of success, but ones I'm sure Paul's nasty roommates would agree to).

Biggs and Suvari are decent actors, but this material doesn't challenge them in any way. The chemistry between them is minimal. The issues are unambiguously black and white (Paul is the perfect boy and his roommates and the professor are perfect assholes), which is highly unlikely in any real relationship scenario. The sound track is decent.

There's some commentary to be made about the use of the "date rape" drug Rohypnol, but director Amy Heckerling (of Clueless fame) doesn't make it. In the end, it becomes only a means by which Paul gets revenge on his roommates. The nature of the abusive relationship between Dora and her professor is thought-provoking, especially from a Freudian (lack of father figure) perspective, but the movie doesn't explore that either. Loser is a rental for a romantic evening, but only if the video store clerk can't "aide" you in finding something better.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org