Clever 'Slackers' isn't your ordinary 'American Pie' gross-out movie

When it comes to cheating, the men of “”Slackers”” are too enterprising for their own good. They spend their innovation and expertise orchestrating power outages, fire alarms and faking broken bones to cheat on tests. Dave (Devon Sawa), Sam (Jason Segal) and Jeff (Michael C. Maronna) are 45 days away from their diplomas, having cheated on every midterm and final they could.

Cheating commences through midterms, but Ethan’s powerful crush throws a glitch in the scheme. “”Cool Ethan”” (Jason Schwartzman) catches Dave in phase two of the cheating process and gathers some incriminating evidence. Ethan gets this only after he thinks that Dave is moving in on his crush, Angela, played by model/actress James King.

While examining Angela’s chair in physics class for a strand of her hair to add to his hair doll, Ethan grabs a crib sheet, as well as the mercy of Dave, Sam and Jeff. What follows is a blackmail proposition to get Angela to like Ethan. If Ethan doesn’t get the girl, he squeals like a pig to the administration to get the boys expelled from Holden University.

Here romance crawls into the script and Angela begins to be the object of more than Ethan’s desire — he builds a shrine and films Angela while she’s not looking.

The cameos succeed in this film. An intimate look at aging Hollywood pin-up Mamie VanDoren is hilarious, shocking and outrageous — all rolled into a pair of very augmented breasts. A quick shot of Cameron Diaz with Cool Ethan is almost believable.

“”Slackers”” is an off-beat comedy that makes one wonder, “”What are they trying to say to me?”” The movie could be saying that honesty will get you everything, that only the ambitious succeed, that there is a fine line between psychologically disturbed stalkers and crushes, or commenting on the power of love.

It plays like a scene in the mind of every student who always wanted to hack into the system or flip an offensive finger to the teaching assistant

Commercials already in heavy circulation portray “”Slackers”” as a feel-good “”American Pie”” flick, when it actually delivers a very different plot. Schwartzman, who was “”not afraid to expel”” the cheating gang, seems emotionally imbalanced.

The movie does have its laugh-out-loud parts, especially when Sam and the red-haired, sideburned Jeff handle their responsibilities of cheating in the group.

Don’t expect a slapstick comedy, but rather a more offbeat comedy that contains imaginary “”Star Wars”” sequences and singing and dancing genitals. “”Slackers”” could really give you some ambition in college — if you are a stalker or a cheater, that is.

Slackers

***

Starring Devon Sawa, James King and Jason Schwartzman

In theaters Feb. 1

Rated R

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