Slackers is a naughty male-fantasy comedy: the women are beautiful and have raging libidos and the men would all make good drinking buddies.
Contrast that to the PG-rated A Walk To Remember, which might be seen as a female-fantasy movie. The boy is sensitive, responsive, and attentive, and the girl is the center of an eclectic universe.
If the female movie is sappy, then the male movie is just sticky.
Cheating and Blackmail
R for language, nudity, sex
Dave, Sam, and Jeff (Devon Sawa, Jason Segel, and Michael C. Maronna) are roommates; they have been all throughout college. Their particular talent is cheating in elaborate college-prank ways. Their scams require three times the effort of simply studying, but it looks like they’re having more fun.
Ethan (Jason Schwartzman) is definitely not cool enough to hang with these slackers, but he enters the picture when Dave steals his seat during an exam. Ethan is psychotically obsessed with Angela (Jamie “James” King). He’s convinced that he can stalk his way into her heart. No way is he going to let this Dave character get away with taking his seat.
Ethan discovers that Dave is cheating, and he uses the evidence for blackmail. He wants Dave to help him win Angela’s affection. Dave agrees, even though he himself is falling in love with Angela.
Sponge Baths and Sock Puppets
If Slackers stands out from the crowd of college comedies, it is because of its unashamed, raunchy sex jokes. Watching it is like listening to 2 Live Crew or watching Andrew Dice Clay: it may be titillating and amusing, but you feel like you need a shower afterwards.
Seventy-year old Mamie Van Doren exposes her breasts, which look much younger. Angela’s roommate Reanna (Laura Prepon) is interrupted while masturbating. And Sam, well, Sam does something outrageous with a sock puppet that just doesn’t belong on film.
Titillating? Maybe. Amusing? Temporarily. Just remember that once you see it, you can’t un-see it.
Schwartzman to the Rescue
If not for Jason Schwartzman, Slackers might have really suffered. Ethan collects strands of Angela’s hair from the classroom after she leaves, and then he makes a hair doll fetish. It’s a sick joke that could easily cross the border into not-funny, but Schwartzman sells it. He doesn’t wink at the audience, he stays in character. Schwartzman, whose film debut was Rushmore, upstages everyone else with his sicker-than-Adam-Sandler man-boy routine.
Schwartzman goes even further, proving either his dedication and talent, or his similarities with his character. Twice during the movie Ethan sings — badly, but not insincerely — love songs he wrote for Angela. Turns out Schwartzman actually wrote those songs.
What it all comes down to is this: Slackers is embarrassing. Don’t take your parents and unless your relationship is on solid ground, don’t take your spouse or significant other. If I were a parent, I’d wish Slackers were NC-17. Then again, NC-17 defeats the whole idea of Slackers. It’s custom-made for hormone-ravaged boys, not for “adults.”
Maybe Slackers is proof that I’m getting to be an old fuddy-duddy. If so, bring on the Geritol.