Monday, May 12, 2008

The Lovable Loser

I saw Jason Segal's junk a lot in Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

Okay, I just had to get that out of the way so we can move on. Forgetting Sarah Marshall is an uneven comedy albeit a charming one because it's got something going for it. And that is Jason Segal, the lovable loser. When you think about it, the lovable loser is a hard role to fill.

Handsome but with love handles.
Most likely to have played Dungeons & Dragons or the like earlier in life.
Socially awkward in situations making him stand-offish.
Honesty will outweigh coolness in all situations.

Probably not the most likable guy, but you like him anyway because he's the most realistic. The kind of person you identify with because there's an honesty there. There's a scene in Forgetting Sarah Marshall where Peter (Jason Segal) is working up the gumption to jump off a cliff into the ocean. While attempting to do so, he trips on some ground covering, sliding down only a bit and hanging on to the cliff for dear life. If he lets go, he will hit the rocks and he probably doesn't have the strength to climb back up. Oh, and let's not forget that the very hot Rachel (Mila Kunis) is at the bottom witnessing all this. I watched this scene and said "that's me" and I'm sure I'm not the only one. To me that was a much more honest scene than the naked one at the beginning of the movie that everyone writes about.

I had all but given up on the lovable loser until this movie. Seth Rogan plays a recent one in Knocked Up, although I was not as big a fan of this movie as most were and I actually prefer Seth as a crazy cop or kinky electronics employee. To me, the epitome of the perfect lovable loser is Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) in Say Anything. The ghetto blaster outside Diane's window is cheesy as hell but damn it's honest.

I'm actually surprised we don't see more of these guys. While we may root for the geeks in movies like Revenge Of The Nerds and Weird Science, we know that we're setting aside reality in doing so. And even more so when we root for the hunks like Mathew McConaughey and Patrick Dempsey. But with the lovable loser, we're rooting for more than just a character in a movie. We're rooting for ourselves.


Anonymous said...

I think most people wouldn't call John Cusak a lovable loser. Most guys wish they had his appeal.

TALKING MOVIEzzz said...

I'm still having trouble with the idea of Patrick Dempsey as a hunk.

As for why there aren't more "lovable losers", do you really want Matthew McConaughey out of work? Having to play the bongo to support himself? It really wouldn't be fair. After all the joy he's brought us, we NEED him on the big screen.

PIPER said...


You've got a point. But it would be hard to argue that Cusack was not a lovable loser in Say Anything.


I know where you're coming from. What a strange world where Dempsey could play a geek in Can't Buy Me Love and then a hunk later on in life. Seems strange.

And on a side note. I produce a ton of music at the music house that taught McCongaughey how to play the bongos so he could get stoned and naked and arrested when Texas beat Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship.

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal: these movies are made by guys. And guys are notorious for having a self-awareness that borders on "glacially unconcerned." So it only makes sense that they would make movies that feature - to them - a perfectly fine catch despite the love handles, bald spots, and tiny, insignificant penis. In their minds, that's exactly what women want.

But I can assure you, women do not want that.

PIPER said...


Don't tell my wife that.

Anonymous said...

I definitely put myself into the lovable loser category. I hope my girlfriend doesn't. But she probably does.

I want to see this movie, but I don't think that I'll get to it before it leaves my theatre. Bummer!

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