D-plus

No, we don't grade on a curve.

SLACKERS

directed by Dewey Nicks with Jason Schwartzman and Devon Sawa opens Feb. 1 at Meridian, Varsity, and others

MAX FISCHER has written better plays than this movie. And it's safe to say that Rushmore Academy's most ambitious dropout wouldn't go near a project as unimaginative as Slackers. But then again, Jason Schwartzman isn't Max Fischer, and the only thing this movie has in common with Rushmore is that it'll also be available on DVD—very, very soon.

In fairness, if you're an alternative-weekly-reading Rushmore fan, you aren't Slackers' target demographic—which you've likely surmised from its commercials ("Higher Education Just Hit a New Low!"). But given that Schwartzman might've salvaged this teen-romance/gross-out flick, a word of warning is in order: He doesn't.

Here Schwartzman plays a manic, tic-filled stalker dubbed "Cool Ethan" who tangles with Holden U's resident scam-masters, Dave (Devon Sawa, of the much better Final Destination), Sam (Jason Segel, of the much better Freaks and Geeks), and Jeff (Michael C. Maronna, of the much better Ameritrade TV ads). Ethan blackmails the trio into helping him win the affections of campus hottie Angela (Pearl Harbor hottie James King). Of course, Angela instead falls for Dave; misunderstandings ensue; blah, blah, blah. Slackers might not be comprehensively derivative, but even its most memorable scene—in which a hooded, sunglasses-wearing student outsmarts a prof by tossing a stack of exams in the air—is a years-old urban legend.

Exactly three things recommend this movie: topless '50s pinup Mamie Van Doren getting a sponge bath and a hand job (!) from Ethan; That '70s Show's Laura Prepon masturbating on a couch; and a masterfully puppeteered penis-sock that sings the chorus to "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain."

Who knows: Schwartzman may still have a shot at redemption in his next project. Even Bud Cort had his Beware! The Blob after Harold and Maude.

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