Slackers (film)

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Promotional poster
Directed byDewey Nicks
Produced byErik Feig
Neal H. Moritz
Written byDavid H. Steinberg
Music byAmanda Scheer-Demme
CinematographyJames R. Bagdonas
Edited byTara Timpone
Alliance Atlantis
Original Film
Slackers Productions
Distributed byScreen Gems
Sony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • February 1, 2002 (2002-02-01)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$14 million[2]
Box office$6.4 million[2]

Slackers is a 2002 American comedy film directed by Dewey Nicks and starring Jason Schwartzman, Devon Sawa, Jason Segel, Michael Maronna, Jaime King, and Laura Prepon. Its plot follows a nerdy college student who blackmails a group of young men with his knowledge that they have cheated throughout college, and uses it to get closer to a young woman he is obsessed with.


Dave Goodman, Sam Schecter, and Jeff Davis are best friends who have spent almost four years at Holden University scamming their way through college. During one exam scam in their final semester Dave discovers Angela, and asks her out while writing his phone number on her exam sheet. Ethan Dulles (who calls himself "Cool Ethan"), a classmate obsessed with Angela to the extent of collecting loose hairs and making a hair doll and having surveillance photos and a shrine to Angela setup in his dorm room, takes her exam question sheet after Angela leaves and uses it to repeatedly confront and then blackmail the guys into setting up a successful date with Angela for him in exchange for his silence on the matter. The guys set Ethan up in multiple situations in an attempt to convince Angela to like him, while Dave tells Sam during their work researching her that Angela is no more important to him as any other scam they have done. Ethan fails to attract her after frequent confrontations based on his delusional behavior, immaturity and ignorance of social norms. Though Ethan seems a lonely harmless nerd, he is scheming, psychotically obsessive and hopelessly socially incompetent.

While trying to convince Angela to go out with Ethan, Dave and Angela grow a mutual attraction to each other. After telling Ethan that he has failed to convince Angela to go out with him, Ethan reveals to Dave that he has been obsessing over Angela for quite some time. He reminds Dave that he still intends to get Dave and his friends expelled if they fail him. Angela and Dave go on an impromptu date after a study session. Ethan finds out and follows and records them. Dave and Angela share a romantic swim and lovemaking session, which causes Ethan to storm around the campus in an obscene and childish tantrum (thus showing that while Ethan is lonely, he is in no way ready for a relationship). In revenge, he shows the tape of Dave and Angela making love to Sam and Jeff to establish that Dave intends to keep Angela for himself. Sam and Jeff, unhappy with Dave's dishonesty, hand over their research on Angela. Ethan uses that file to prove to Angela that Dave and his friends were actively stalking her. This causes Dave to punch Ethan in the face. But as far as Ethan is concerned he has won and Angela is his.

After a falling out with everyone, Dave returns to the dorm and admits to Sam and Jeff that he honestly cares for Angela. After making amends, the guys sabotage Ethan's job interview with a law firm and, during the final exam, while Dave is telling the truth to Angela in front of the whole class about his entire dishonest college career of cheating, Jeff plants an answer key in Ethan's backpack while tipping off the teaching assistant proctoring the exam. In the end the guys get expelled, but Dave and Angela get back together and Sam ends up in a relationship with Angela's roommate, Reanna Cass while Jeff falsifies their diplomas from Holden University after Angela and Reanna graduate. Ethan, now miserable that he lost Angela forever and having also been expelled from college after it was revealed he was stalking her, continues to work at the restaurant. The movie ends with him singing his love of Angela and his hatred for Dave.



The film has a few tracks from Handsome Boy Modeling School (Prince Paul & Dan The Automator), including "Holy Calamity" and "Rock & Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This)". It has a symphonic instrumental performance of "Baba O'Riley" from The Who playing over the opening credits, as well as an A Capella performance of "The Sign" by Ace of Base (sung by a college choir) during a scene.

Release and reception[edit]

As of June 2015, based on 105 reviews collected by the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, Slackers has received an overall rating average of 10%, with an average score of 3.1 out of 10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Another teen comedy with little on its mind but moving to the next gross-out gag, Slackers strains for laughs and features grating characters."[3] On Metacritic, the film holds a 12/100 based on 28 critics, meaning “overwhelming dislike”. A few critics noted the dialogue as a positive,[4] but not sufficiently good to warrant attention.[5][6]

Slackers opened at #11 in the box office with $2,785,283, the 11th highest-grossing opening film of the weekend,[7] and lasted only two weeks in theaters before it closed on February 14, 2002, with a domestic total of $5,285,941 and $1,127,974 internationally, for a worldwide total of $6,413,915.[2]

Slackers was marketed as a raunchy comedy primarily, rather than as a romantic comedy, which was fair to the content; Philip French commented that "Slackers makes American Pie look like The Importance of Being Earnest."[8]

Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film a zero out of four stars and described the film as "a dirty movie. Not a sexy, erotic steamy or even smutty movie." [9]


  1. ^ "Slackers". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Los Angeles, California: American Film Institute. Archived from the original on February 24, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c "Slackers (2002) - Box Office Mojo". 2002-02-14. Retrieved 2011-07-06.
  3. ^ Slackers at Rotten Tomatoes
  4. ^ Cline, Rich. "Shadows On The Wall". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  5. ^ Turner, Matthew. "View London". Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  6. ^ McGuirk, Margaret. "'Slackers' simply an embarrassment". The Cincinnati Enquirer. Gannett. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  7. ^ "Domestic 2002 Weekend 5". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  8. ^ French, Philip. "Slackers". The Observer. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
  9. ^ "Slackers". Roger Ebert. 2002-02-01. Retrieved 2018-01-31.

External links[edit]