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Although the title is LOSER ($25), this youth oriented romantic comedy is neither a loser nor a complete winner. Writer/director Amy Heckerling who scored a knockout with CLUELESS, has created a group of college age characters who are less likable than the high school students found in the previous film- this is where the filmís problems lie. The term "loser" is supposed to the filmís two central characters, who canít seem to do anything right, when compared to their so-called "cool" peers. However, these twos losers are the only two people in the film that show any sense of humanity. LOSER stars Jason Biggs as Paul Tannek, a midwestern boy who comes to New York to attend college on a scholarship. Paulís studious ways cause a rift with his roommates, who see college life as a non-stop party. Eventually, Paul gets bounced from his dorm and ends up staying in the backroom of a veterinary clinic, where he rescues Dora (Mena Suvari), the girl of his dreams, from the aftereffects of a college party. Unfortunately for Paul, Dora is having an affair with the pompous Edward Alcott (Greg Kinnear), an older man, who just happens to be one of their professors. So does Paul make Dora see that she is in a doomed relationship, and that she would be better off with him? What do you think? The cast of LOSER also includes Zak Orth, Thomas Sadoski, Jimmi Simpson, Dan Aykroyd and Twink Caplan.

While LOSER may be a middle of the road comedy, Columbia TriStar Home Videoís DVD edition of the movie is a total winner. LOSER has been given a crisp, highly defined transfer that frames the movie at 1.85:1, with the presentation being enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. Warmer hues stand out amongst the strongly saturated colors, in addition to the picture producing very pleasing flesh tones. Chroma noise and smearing are non-existent on this DVD. Blacks are pure and the picture delivers a solid level of shadow detail and good depth. Digital compression artifacts never make their presence known on this cleanly authored DVD. For those who are interested, a full screen version LOSER is also included on the DVD.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack features a fairly standard comedy mix, with the forward soundstage predominating the track. Surround usage it primarily tied to creating musical fill, with few directional effects making their way into the rear channels. Dialogue reproduction is clean and locked into the center channel, while sound effects make use of the left-right stereo imaging. The bass channel reinforces the music, but has little else to do in this dialogue driven film. French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded onto the DVD. Subtitles are available on the disc in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean and Thai. The basic interactive menus provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. Included on the disc is a "making-of" featurette, plus the Wheatus music video for Teenage Dirtbag. A theatrical trailer and talent files fill out the extras.

LOSER may not be a winner, but it does have a few funny and tender moments that make it a good date flick. Columbia TriStarís disc looks and sounds just great, so if you are going to spend an evening with a LOSER make sure itís this DVD.





DVD reviews are Copyright © 2001 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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