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Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Slackers (2002)

Dave: I gotta be with Angela.
Sam: As your attorney, I can't advise that.

- Devon Sawa, Jason Segel

Review By: Kevin Clemons   
Published: May 27, 2002

Stars: Devon Sawa, Jason Schwartzman, James King
Other Stars: Laura Prepon, Jason Segel, Michael C. Maronna
Director: Dewey Nicks

Manufacturer: DVDL
MPAA Rating: R for strong language and sexual content, brief drug use
Run Time: 01h:26m:56s
Release Date: May 28, 2002
UPC: 043396080843
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
C+ B-B+B C+

DVD Review

Sometimes when the grind of day to day life has me at my lowest point I find it refreshing to watch a movie with friends and simply share a laugh with them. To be honest, the collection of movies that we frequently view are not of the highest quality (Dead Man On Campus happens to be a favorite), but they are good enough to raise a laugh and pass a few hours together. Slackers may prove to be a film that will enjoy repeated viewing with us. It is far from terrific, and at times it is downright stupid, but it provides some genuine laughs and never takes itself too seriously which, sometimes, is all I want from a film of this type.

Set at a university unlike any other in the world, Slackers tells the story of three close friends whole sole ambition for their four years in college is to do as little as possible and cheat their way to a diploma. Dave (Sawa), Jeff (Maronna), and Sam (Segel) are perfectly content in scheming their way through college, never actually having opened a textbook or willingly sat down to take an exam, yet they are poised to graduate with honors. So as their college careers are set to come to a close, something unexpected happens when Dave falls for Angela (King), a woman he meets while stealing a test for his friends. Things are going well as Angela shows interest in Dave as well, but Ethan (Schwartzman) has other ideas for Angela's love life.

To say that Ethan has an obsession with the beautiful Angela is an understatement; he is possessed by her. So after he sees Dave blatantly cheat on a test, he has the idea to blackmail the three friends with expulsion unless they help him get Angela to fall in love with him. Sam and Jeff have no problem with this, but Dave (as is to be expected) does, as his feeling for Angela are more important than his college career.

There is a scant originality, or even good taste, present in Slackers, but anyone expecting these things is clearly not the target audience for this film. As a comedy, it serves its purpose and delivers large laughs, including one extended sequence involving Ethan and a homeless shelter that features the sort of winning humor and performances that fail to grace the rest of the film. But other segments fail miserably, saddling Slackers with its downfall. The story suffers from bouncing between emotion, gross out humor, and romantic comedy situations too often, and none of these elements are particularly strong enough to carry the film.

There is still something remotely enjoyable about the film. I liked the performances of Sawa, King (whose beauty makes the film worth watching) and Schwartzman; the three have a chemistry that makes their scenes the high points of the film. Segel (who rose to popularity as Stuart the Ameritrade guy) anchors the supporting cast and Maronna of That 70's Show are also fine in their roles.

Slackers is not a terrific film but I laughed more than I cringed, though a look at former star Mamie Van Doren in the all together is enough to make a grown man cry. The scenes between Sawa and King make the movie likeable, as they offer the sort of sweetly romantic nature missing from other films in the college comedy genre.

Rating for Style: C+
Rating for Substance: B-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyesno

Image Transfer Review: Presented in both an anamorphic 1.85:1 as well as a full-frame version, Slackers offers an image transfer that, while not eye-popping, is generally very pleasing. Colors are nicely done with the opening scenes of the campus in the spring looking terrific and vibrant. Sharpness and detail are fine, though the transfer has a soft look in several scenes. Edge enhancement is noticeable in some of the outdoor sequences. Overall, this is a nice transfer from Columbia.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is, as is to be expected, fairly uneventful as the film offers no real chance for either the split surrounds or .1 LFE channel to shine. Dialogue is crisp and clear throughout with no distortion, while the alternative music used in the score sounds fine coming out of the left and right speakers. The surround speakers are generally used for ambience and in the opening scenes, the score is reproduced nicely.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Animated menu with music
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring Riding In Cars With Boys, The Forsaken, Not Another Teen Movie, and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: RSDL

Extras Review: The original theatrical trailer is offered that makes the film look entertaining, something a trailer should do. Trailers for other Columbia Tri/Star films including Riding In Cars With Boys, The Forsaken, Not Another Teen Movie, and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer are each offered as well.

Extras Grade: C+


Final Comments

Though weak on extra features and lacking nonstop humor, Slackers is worth a rental for those who are in need of something to do on a given night.


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