Writer/director Amy Heckerling missteps with her third teen-focused picture, a confused, maudlin affair that buries a potentially sweet love story beneath improbably pessimistic plot developments. Loser deserves credit for attempting to chronicle the trials and tribulations of two low-income freshmen -- Paul (Jason Biggs) and Dora (Mena Suvari) -- at a big-city college dominated by privileged hipsters; it's the kind of resolutely noncommercial subject matter usually shunned by teen flicks. Unfortunately, Heckerling's obnoxious roomie antagonists are so over-the-top ruthless that they threaten to undercut the misfit heroes' intelligence and warmth. Worse yet, Suvari's callous professor boyfriend (Greg Kinnear) is an unrepentant misogynist who makes his young lover fetch his tea and slippers. As forces consistently conspire to keep Paul and Dora apart well into the film's latter third, the overall effect isn't one of heightened anticipation so much as it is unbearable frustration.
by Michael Hastings review