A controversial date rape scene is cut from ''Loser'' | EW.com

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A controversial date rape scene is cut from ''Loser''

Even so, Mena Suvari and Jason Biggs defend the comedy as a cautionary tale

Mena Suvari

ROOFLESS PEOPLE A scene was cut from Suvari's latest film (<!-- -->)

Sure, the Jason Biggs-Mena Suvari romantic comedy ”Loser” looks like just another lightweight summer movie. But an early cut of the film contained a controversial scene depicting an attempted date rape – a plot twist that preview audiences found neither funny nor romantic. Though much of the scene ended up on the cutting room floor, that didn’t help the movie at the box office. ”Loser” brought in a paltry $6.1 million over the weekend.

Though writer-director Amy Heckerling successfully pushed the Hollywood limits of sexuality – masturbation and abortion – in ”Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (‘82) and reenergized teen movies and Jane Austen adaptations with ”Clueless” (‘95), negative feedback from ”Loser” test audiences convinced her to make last-minute edits to the PG-13 rated film. A sequence that appeared to make light of an attempted sexual assault was promptly sanitized, but not before angry reviews had leaked out to the website aint-it-cool-news.com. Despite the bad buzz, Heckerling was reluctant to remove the scene entirely. ”A lot of stuff had to be toned down, but the scene is an important part of the plot,” says Heckerling. ”I didn’t want to deal with it in a preachy, ‘movie of the week’ way.”

So, what did ”Loser” lose in the reediting? In the version now in theaters, Biggs’ three obnoxious college roommates trick Suvari’s character, Dora, into downing a drink that’s been doctored with Rohypnol, an illegal sedative often referred to as ”roofies” or the ”date rape drug” for its ability to immobilize a victim for hours. What audiences won’t see is a subsequent shot of a groggy Dora awakening on an operating table as the three men use veterinary equipment to remove her clothing. Instead, there’s a scene of Biggs finding Dora in a bathroom unconscious but fully clothed; he takes her to the hospital, where she mentions roofies but not an assault.

Even before Heckerling made the decision to reedit the scene, Biggs felt that the issue of date rape was dealt with responsibly in the film. ”The comedy comes from the perspective of the three guys who think slipping a roofie into a young girl’s drink is humorous,” he says. ”But then you have me and Mena counteracting that by taking it very seriously. I don’t think we approach it in a light manner at all.” Suvari agrees. ”I think it’s great that this movie deals with the issue, because we have so many fluffy stories out there,” she says. ”It’s a serious situation, and the scene was shot with that in mind.”

As for Heckerling, she challenges anyone to question her motives in keeping the scene in the film. ”Look, I’m the mother of a teenage girl,” she says. ”The fact is, this is something that’s going on, and I wanted to make these characters as vile as possible so you know they’re disgusting guys.” And we thought college freshman who don’t do their laundry for eight months were disgusting enough.