Volume 95, Issue 69

Tuesday, February 5, 2002

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There Goes the Bride - slowly, but she makes it

Required: ludicrous amounts of hallucinogens

Pavlo's soul is his guitar

Required: ludicrous amounts of hallucinogens


Devon Sawa, Jason Schwartzman, James King

Directed by: Dewey Nicks

Three 1/2 stars (out of five)

By Grant Donaldson
Gazette Staff

Gazette File Photo

Strap on your helmet, buckle your safety belt and get ready for a trip into the deepest, darkest recesses of insanity Slackers is here.

While the previews allude to standard adolescent hijinx riding the coattails of American Pie all the way to the bank the inappropriately titled Slackers is anything but another teen movie.

The basic story revolves around three college students. Dave (Devon Sawa), Jeff (Michael Maronna) and Sam (Jason Segal) have scammed, cheated and lied their way to the verge of graduation. However, things go awry when "Cool Ethan" a socially inept geek played by Jason Schwartzman catches wind of one of their scams, threatening their entire college careers.

Ethan promises to keep the lid on their cheating if they help him win the heart of Angela (James King), a girl with whom he has developed an abnormal obsession.

Unfortunately, Ethan bungles all of his opportunities and eventually Dave and Angela fall in love. This turnabout drives Ethan mad and he seeks vengeance on Dave. A bitter rivalry ensues and Dave and Ethan do all in their power to damage each other's reputation.

The movie ends as both the truths behind the schemes and Ethan's darkest secrets are brought to light and, of course, the good guy gets the girl. Sounds fairly basic doesn't it? Guess again.

When Slackers was filmed, the cast and crew must have lost the script part way through, ingested a ludicrous amount of hallucinogens and made the rest up along the way.

The movie seems to dance on a thread thin plot offering a potpourri of utterly confusing and hilarious situations that leave viewers scratching their heads. The disturbing extent of Ethan's fixation on Angela provides a number of humourous peeks inside the mind of a psycho and his sheer idiocy leaves you howling.

Additionally, the intriguing personalities and inner-struggles of the supporting characters keep the level of gasps and guffaws from the audience at a maximum.

The actual script is a cut and paste job equal parts brilliant and entirely random. The scenes jump from witty dark comedy to toilet humour to Harlequin romance so quickly it can make the audience dizzy.

The individuality of each character is well-written, defining each in a way that makes their freakiness believable. In fact, much of the everyday actions of the characters are portrayed in a realistic light all too often missing from mainstream Hollywood movies.

Smoking pot is shown as the everyday activity it is, neither condemned nor glorified and people react to situations in realistic ways, instead of over-reacting.

However, while many of the gags are original and genuinely funny, the awkwardness of Ethan and the lack of logical continuity can become too much to handle.

The acting is at the level one would expect from an adolescent comedy, with each actor essentially portraying average people who remain fairly flat characters. Extra points go to Jason Schwartzman for his ability to effectively bring to life a character so irritating and socially nauseating, it's difficult to imagine such a creature could ever really exist.

Slackers is a movie that you will either love or hate, depending on taste, maturity or possibly even the tides. Regardless of your reaction, the movie guarantees at least a few laughs and is definitely worth getting off the couch to check out.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002