American Loser – 3 out of 5
American Loser?!? What’s this about? Is it about *fill in name of celebrity/politician/reality TV star that’s American and currently the object of pop culture ridicule*?
|And while you're at it, insert a joke about his guy in the movie. I'm making you|
do all the work with this review.
American Loser is based of the real-life troubles of Jeff Nichols (Seann William Scott), a man whose life has been one bad day after the next. He’s a recovering alcoholic, a dyslexic, a dateless wonder and suffers from attention deficit disorder. The only thing that works for Jeff is his attending AA meetings where he tells stories about his past embarrassing situations that always ends up making those around him feel better—mostly because nothing that bad has happened to them. With the help of his girlfriend; Lynn (Gretchen Mol)—who is also engaged to another man, and his friend Lenny (Jeff Garlin), Jeff decides to use his powers of getting into bad situations and being a perpetually pathetic person to create a comedy career as a stand-up comedian.
|Maybe as a comic, he'll get to the bottom of the "deal with airline food."|
This film is also titled Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit and, honestly, I think it’s a better title. Not only does it throw in a spelling error (which will go unnoticed by most texters who have yet to master spelling “the” and spell it “hte”) but it’s just a better, and less generic-sounding, title than American Loser. But I guess throwing “American” in the title is enough to get some to watch it because it appeals to their patriotism. I just feel that American *Fill in the blank* titles have grown old. Especially when you start to see that there are tons of documentaries alone (never mind the fictional films that have “American” in the title) that start with the word “American.” Shit, there’s a doc called American Mullet for fuck’s sake.
|The look of a woman who just realized she slept with a man who had a mullet.|
Sadly, the movie’s title isn’t the only thing generic in this film—pretty much everything in this movie is something that looks like a cheap budget title. I know that sounds pretty harsh but the movie isn’t completely terrible. The concept is brilliant but the end product just doesn’t fulfill much of the underlying potential (sounds like most comics at an open mic).
|Jeff Garlin needed more scenes. Why? Because he's Jeff "Fucking" Garlin!|
The humor is pretty weak and more mildly amusing than anything. The film is never uproariously funny or really elicited much actual laughter from me but it wasn’t a bunch of fart jokes either. Like the film’s premise, the potential is there and the story is humorous on paper but the film just ended up feeling a little flat…kinda like soda (or pop if you like being completely wrong). Ingesting the film (or viewing it, don’t eat the film—the metaphor is already starting out pretty messy) may not be really delicious like a refreshing carbonated beverage straight out of the icebox that feels cool and tasty going over your taste buds and on its way to your food bag but rather it’s like a soda that’s been opened and left out on your coffee table for an hour while you were engaged in some intense video game/porn/binge eating/crocheting time. Yeah, you’ll choke it down and it may be bitter and tasteless at this point but there’s worse stuff you can stick in your mouth (don’t use that as a pick-up line to women, guys) and there’s still the hint of the greatness the soda once was (or, in the case of this strange metaphor that grew out of the fact there is a half-empty can of Mt. Dew on my desk, the potential this film could have been is hinted at).
|"You guys want to see a dead body?"|
Seann William Scott is decent in his portrayal of Jeff but is never really a break-out star as we’ve seen him in some past comedies. He offers up a few chuckles as we see Jeff go from one embarrassing situation after another and he’s back up in some decent scenes with Jeff Garlin but, overall this aspect of the movie, like the rest of it, is just okay. Even Gretchen Mol who plays the equally troubled Lynn; the woman who simultaneously wants Jeff’s fun stick but wants to marry a well-off (not in that sense, you pervs) man who can provide her with financial security for the rest of her life is kinda bland and “meh” in her performance. While American Loser never does anything truly wrong but the film never does anything exceptional either. The film is good enough to give a chance to and it gave me a few chuckles but I found the film’s potential and premise to be more entertaining than the actual film.