Not a Masterpiece, But a Noble Attempt to Create One
If this film had been shot with a $100,000 or more budget, I'd call it a nobly-intentioned artistic failure.
With only a $20,000 budget, though, and being only Linklater's second feature-length effort, I'll just say "semi-failure." I think I have a pretty good sense of what he was trying to accomplish in making this film, and I definitely don't think he succeeded completely, but I do think his intentions were partially fulfilled.
"Waking Life" is a stone-cold masterpiece, but besides a few obvious surface similarities, just under the surface this is a very different movie, and resembles "Waking Life" only in that with a little more time, effort, serious thought about how to accomplish his goals, and of course a bigger budget, "Slacker" could have been a masterpiece.
6 out of 10. On the Petronius Scale, 5 and 6 stand for "worth seeing at least once," with 6 being the better half of that group.
"I don't deduce, I observe."