Thursday, January 31, 2002

Campus heap

Movie: Slackers

Posted on Thu, Jan 31, 2002 at 4:00 AM

*
Our Rating: 1.00

Some movies are just bad enough to inspire anger, but this one is so atrocious that it's almost fascinating. "Slackers" comes out of the gate trying to be "Animal House" for the "Buzzkill" generation: A group of collegiate cheats, about to graduate into the real world of high-paying jobs and "fine-ass bitches," find their path blocked by a sawed-off stalker of coeds (Jason Schwartzman), who threatens to expose their history of creative turpitude unless they set him up with an undergrad honey (James King, the flat-broke man's Liv Tyler). So far, so bad.

But what ensues isn't merely inept and offensive -- it's flat-out bizarre. The punch lines are obscure. The story is incoherent, its frequent fantasy sequences so poorly distinguished from the main narrative that we're never sure what's actually happening and what isn't. And the characters are uniformly hateful, making it impossible to discern which (if any) are supposed to be our protagonists. The surreality reaches its apotheosis in a cameo by 72-year-old trash queen Mamie Van Doren, who plays a hospital patient one might reasonably mistake for Dee Snider ... until she exposes her ancient breasts and demands a sponge bath.

"Slackers'" official tag line is "Higher education just hit a new low," but the only slogan that would truly do it justice is "Where did THAT come from?" I think I could even respect this movie on some basic level, if I could just figure out what species of animal put it together.

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