While Orange County's tale of college woe is delivering a fine time to comedy audiences, its bland, unfunny, useless stepbrother is unspooling right down the hall in the multiplex. Slackers, by first-time director and former fashion photographer Dewey Nicks, is such a futile, awkward, poor attempt at exposing the "wacky craziness" of higher education that even its title is completely wrong.

And that's because the main protagonists are not slackers at all -- in fact, they're a trio of heady, hard-working college cheaters. Beginning with an elaborate scam that actually gives the movie some potential, we are introduced to our leads (Devon Sawa, Jason Segel, and Michael C. Maronna) as they simultaneously shoot video of the women's cross-country team, steal a physics exam, and fake getting hit by a truck. But screenwriter David H. Steinberg (story writer on American Pie 2) tries building an entire feature based on one decent scenario. And he, as well as the rest of us, are in some deep trouble for the remainder of the 87 minutes.

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