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Case Number 22380: Small Claims Court

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American Loser

Lionsgate // 2007 // 94 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 27th, 2011

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson is an American winner. That's what it says on the shirt his mom made for him.

The Charge

They get lucky sometimes.

The Case

Seann William Scott (Role Models) stars as Jeff, a young guy plagued by Attention Deficit Disorder, alcoholism, Tourette's Syndrome, and various other learning disabilities. He is indeed a loser. One day he meets a lovely woman named Lynn (Gretchen Mol, Life on Mars) and the two spark a tumultuous relationship characterized by distrust and pooping in bed. As he attempts to discover his place in life, Jeff bounces from job to job, seeks advice from his best friend (Jeff Garlin, Curb Your Enthusiasm), and plays fantasy basketball in his own mind.

And that's American Loser, a weird 2007 concoction that tries to blend broad comedy with dramatic elements of "finding oneself." The result is a half-baked soufflé that comes across as trying too hard and too hip for its own good.

The original title back in 2007 was Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit, which is not a typo but the actual title. Lame. The American Loser swap was a good move by Lionsgate, in an effort to rebrand and relaunch four years later.

All to no avail. Whichever title it uses, the film did very little for me. The comedy was either sophomoric or too bizarre, yielding little in the way of real laughs. If your centerpiece gag is a prolonged encounter with a skidmark on a bed sheet, then it might time to re-evaluate your comic sensibilities. Jeff daydreams a lot and his scenarios always involve characters that look just like him. I suppose this is designed to be a clever way to highlight the character's neuroses, but let's be honest: it's to get Seann William Scott into drag.

Seann William Scott is, in fact, the only element of this endeavor I enjoyed. This role isn't much different from the typical characters he plays, just with more dopiness. But I enjoy the guy. Scott's got charisma, a nifty comedic touch, and it's his efforts which are primarily responsible for the few chortles I drew from the film. Unfortunately, he's largely wasted in what is essentially a tedious attempt at "dramedy" that strikes out on two key elements needed to qualify for that cutesy label: drama and comedy. Skip it, unless you're a fanatical Seann William Scott devotee.

The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 surround, a making-of featurette, and a photo gallery.

The Verdict

Guilty. Go fire up some Road Trip instead.

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Scales of Justice

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
• English (CC)
• Spanish
Running Time: 94 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Comedy
• Drama

Distinguishing Marks

• Featurette
• Photo Gallery


• IMDb

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