Friday, July 21, 2017

LOSER (2000)

Written & Directed By: Amy Heckerling 
Cinematography By: Rob Hahn 
Editor: Debra Chiate 

Cast: Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Greg Kinnear, Thomas Sadoski, Zak Orth, Jimmi Simpson, David Spade, Brian Backer, Dan Ayckroyd, Andy Dick, Steven Wright, Colleen Camp, Twink Kaplan, Bobby Slayton, Taylor Negron, Andrea Martin 

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?

I like Amy Heckerling and her movies usually but it seems here times were hard. As this is the follow up to her hit CLUELESS. She might be one of the strongest female directors if only because she has directed more movies than any other female director that I grew up with and watched constantly throughout so far.

She might not be the most noteworthy for critics or even the most acclaimed by critics but she has lasted and keeps making movies. It seems that she always comes along to have a film that helps I fleece or define a generation and then usually does well in other projects In Between.
Just like how CLUELESS was loosely based on the Jane Austen Novel EMMA. This film is loosely based on the classic film THE APARTMENT (a film classic and one of my personal favorite movies. So you might see where this is going) set to speak more for the collegiate aged generation. The problem with this film is that while it fits in somewhat with the generation it's meant to represent. It's not an exact fit and doesn't do well defining the characters exactly.

This film is meant to be a comedy but comes off as a drama with outrageous more cartoonish comedic characters. The film might have worked if it would have gotten a chance to do a few more drafts.

For a film supposedly based on a dark comedic film. The film touches on some serious subjects but never indulges them. Yet it is not dark. It is just downright cruel to it's tell leads. Who seem to be the only decent likeable honest people in this whole film and New York. They are both dangerously naive. Unfortunately neither of the actors is compelling enough for us to truly be captivated by their characters. Jason Biggs character is dull and lifeless and way too nice. To the point of unbelievablilty. Also. No one seems to like him for no real reason. Even if weak willed.

Mena Suvari's character is supposed to be tough but trusts anyone she meets at face value. Like she is using her goth styling as a kind of armor.

Greg Kinnear's character is so evil for no real reason. He might as well be twirling a mustache He doesn't have and treats Dora (Mena Suvari's character) so bad it's impossible really to see why they would ever be together in the first place. As most of the time he seems to not really like her. I can Maybe understand she looks up to him as an older father figure and feels he knows best so she must adhere to what he says. But come on.

I really wanted to enjoy this film. It just seems that the film needed a little more thought and smoothing out. That would have come a long way for this film. As it tries too hard to be likeable and in parts it is, but as a whole it sinks those parts also. This is THE APARTMENT only younger and with more sugar added. Though the levels not so dire.

Maybe it is also a location. As Ms. Heckerling seems to make movies more centered around New York. Where as her films set in California. Even I COULD NEVER BE YOUR WOMAN. Which is set in California but filmed in England. Are all quite fun and enjoyable. Here she tries to show the joys and excitement of New York. Even with the more cynical attitudes of the people that make It a one of a kind place for the main characters to navigate around and keep their wholesomeness

If you are a fan of her work. You might enjoy this film.Though for everything that is likeable there is something to distract from the film overall. It seems like a film out of plce that might have played well in earlier years, but at the time seems somewhat ineffectual.

In an interview, Heckerling said that the main reason this film failed is that the studio insisted it be delivered as a PG-13 film even though it was intended by everyone else, from Heckerling to the since-departed studio executives who'd green lit production, as an R-rated comedy. The studio said that R-rated comedies weren't welcomed by enough audiences and forced the film to be watered down considerably. Heckerling said the movie failed because audiences could tell it was not doing what it was intended to do.


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