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"American Pie's" Jason Biggs goes to college and finds things a lot less exciting there.


When gullible small-town square Paul (Biggs) gets a scholarship to a prestigious New York City university, he's ripe for the plucking from the likes of his spoiled rich roommates (Zak Orth, Tom Sadoski, Jimmi Simpson). Meanwhile, Paul's classmate Dora (Mena Suvari) tries to balance schoolwork, off-campus jobs and a covert relationship with her world lit professor (Greg Kinnear). Will Paul and Dora, two very different breeds of social outcast, find a way to hook up? You don't need SAT scores in the 99th percentile to figure that one out.


Biggs' natural goofiness and Everyboy likability go a long way toward making "Loser" watchable, but there's little the talented young actor can do with the lifeless, increasingly predictable storyline. Suvari, who functioned well enough as "American Beauty's" teen lust object, ranges from weak to downright awful trying to navigate a lead role in this vastly inferior film. Kinnear lends a piggish charm to his people-using, misogynist prof, easily the film's most entertaining character.


Writer-director Amy Heckerling, who so successfully mined the comic potential of '80s and '90s youth culture in the genre classics "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Clueless," scores surprisingly few laughs in moving her act to an institution of higher learning. To its credit, "Loser" shows more respect for the audience's intelligence than the average campus comedy fare, taking the time to delve into a few real issues (teacher/student relationships, inequalities between rich and middle-class students) along the way, but the results simply don't generate the sparks Heckerling's earlier high school films did.

Bottom Line

Think twice before enrolling in "Loser."


Starring Jason Biggs, Mena Suvari, Tom Sadoski, Zak Orth and Greg Kinnear.

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling. Produced by Twink Caplan. Released by Sony Pictures.