2 StarsOriginally titled Trainwreck: My Life as an Idoit (that’s not a typo) and made in 2006, American Loser has finally found its way to video store shelves. This is a Lions Gate release and the retitling plays off the American Pie good will earned by star Sean William Scott in hopes of attracting some sales. The original title is far more fitting and descriptive than the latter, not to mention it’s based on Jeff Nichols’ memoirs of the same name. The title change mis-sells the film as an all out comedy, which while it has its moments, the film is more of a downer than anything else.
Sean William Scott plays Jeff Nichols, an alcoholic who shares his entire life story at alcohol abuse meetings. We learn that he’s a mommy’s boy with “crippling” learning disabilities and, well, to put it bluntly he’s pretty stupid. His mother and step-father are rich and support him as he wanders aimlessly through life. His engaged girlfriend Lynn (Gretchen Mol) and best friend Lenny (Jeff Garlin), both ex-alcoholics, round out the cast and basically fill the voids between Jeff’s meetings, that is when he isn’t fishing or dealing with a new living situation (the guy’s basically a bum).
Hang on for the first ten minutes and the movie does get better. Unfortunately Jeff meanders through the entire film with little purpose other than to live day to day. It can clearly be seen this is based on a real person’s life, as nothing ever amounts to anything. At times it feels like Scott isn’t exactly sure what the point is either. There are a few moments to chuckle at, but most of the funny comes from single line deliveries from Scott or Mol as neither of their characters are very bright. It would appear the lesson here is not to bum around and instead do something with your life. Yet by the end Jeff has everything he wanted (which isn’t much) without doing much different than in the beginning.
If you’re searching for a heart warming comedy about a down and out loser making a comeback, this isn’t it. If on the other hand you want to watch a guy meander around and kind of crack some jokes on accident then saddle up, you’re in for a mediocre ride (which is good, cause that’s what you wanted).
Director: Tod Harrison Williams
Stars: Seann William Scott, Gretchen Mol, Jeff Garlin