TV pretty-boy Nick Berry once crooned ""Every loser wins..."" Well, not in this case. In a very real sense, Amy Heckerling's latest teen screener is a total loser. Okay, so she wrote and directed the sassy Clueless and Fast Times At Ridgemont High, but she was also responsible for Look Who's Talking and Look Who's Talking Too. Anyone expecting the next American Pie might as well stay at home with their todger wedged in said bakery produce.
Jason Biggs, who gave a masterful comedy performance in the Weitz brothers' hugely successful Porky's update, is reduced to a few lacklustre pratfalls and resigned eyebrow-raisings. Mena Suvari, meanwhile, dumps most of her post-American Beauty credibility by shrieking it up as a stroppy, ditzy little grunge-madam who, when not squealing the word ""cute"", is required to deliver such soul-crushing dialogue as: ""Why are you so nice?""
The main problem is that nobody in this movie is likeable. First, there's all the people you're supposed to dislike: Paul's arsehole flatmates take hatefulness beyond comedy, while Dora's teacher boyfriend is so unreasonable that you'd find him hard to swallow in Melrose Place. Then there's the people you're meant to like: Dora is so blind to her boyfriend's faults that you dismiss rather than sympathise with her, and Paul comes over as a boring, sanctimonious twat with the worst movie haircut since Michael Douglas' flat-top look in Falling Down.
Heckerling trowels on the teen-flick clichés so much that her cast don't even really need to act - - the Now That's What I Call Teen Movie Music soundtrack does it for them. So it's upbeat alt rock when things are good, and Simon&Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair when our `hero' mopes about his unrequited love. The Sound Of Silence would have been more appropriate - - or rather, the sound of an empty auditorium.
With its sappy romance and few laughs, Loser lives down to its title and fails the rom-com exam. Both Biggs and Suvari probably regret their involvement, while director Heckerling distances herself even further from the success of Clueless.