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Old School (2003)
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Review Date: February 09, 2003
Director: Todd Phillips
Writer: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong
Producers: Todd Phillips, Daniel Goldberg, Joe Medjuck
Actors:
Luke Wilson as Mitch
Will Ferrell as Frank
Vince Vaughn as Beanie
Plot:
A 30-something year old dude breaks up with his girl and moves into a kickass new home around a college campus. His two married buddies decide to help their friend work through his blues by turning his house into a fraternity of sorts, with parties, beer, chicks and all kinds of naughty behavior all around. Debauchery ensues.
Critique:
As God is my witness, I really wanted to love this movie! Unfortunately, I liked it quite a bit, but didn't think it was as funny as it could have been. Which is a shame since it features a very cool premise, a "can't miss" cast including Ferrell, Vaughn and Wilson, as well as plenty of appearances/cameos from the likes of Snoop Dogg, Craig Kilborn (the most underrated TV talk show host around), Andy Dick, Juliette Lewis, Seann William Scott and more. One of the problems with the film might've been that it was simply trying "too hard" to fit all these folks into funny situations, with some of it just not working and feeling forced. The whole Andy Dick "blowjob" training session is a perfect example of that. On the other hand, whenever the story stuck by its basic ANIMAL HOUSE-esque roots, things were quite hilarious (the film's wedding singer is hi-fuckin-larious!), especially when either of the three leads were given moments to shine. Vaughn is at his Vaughn-est here, bringing back fond memories of his titanic role as SWINGERS' Trent. He's the classic, endearing, fast-talking bullshit artist. Will Ferrell is also in peak form here (his wedding scene is particularly hilarious) but his best stuff comes forth only after he starts drinking again (story of my life) and turns into the streaking "Frank the Tank" that we all know and love. If you haven't seen Ferrell half-naked or fully nude in any of his previous projects, prepare yourself to be dazzled by the horror of his naked figure prancing about. And yes, DVD hounds will most certainly be able to check out his Johnson in "pause" mode. The picture's also packed with all the prerequisites from any good "college flick", including mucho drinking, swearing and even a little T&A for the kids. The soundtrack also kicked my ass, with tunes of all kinds, including one sequence in which the boys are "picking up" their fraternity pledges as Metallica's "Master of Puppets" (old school) blasts in the background. Great shite!

As for the story, well, you can't expect too much from a "college flick", with everything besides the standard premise being typical partying, bitching with the Dean (who is particularly mean-spirited and unbelievable) and relationship stuff. The latter is handled rather oddly with Wilson's boring relationship featured a little too much, Ferrell's barely touched upon, while the Vaughn/Remini romance is a friggin' joke. How any filmmaker could hire a spitfire like Remini and offer her only a couple of lines is beyond me! One thing that must also be considered in a film like this is your own appeal to actors like Vaughn and Ferrell. The latter is someone who is particularly funny to me, with even a slightly skewed look, having me giggle like a schoolgirl. But if you don't like him or his "shtick" per se, you will likely not enjoy his antics here either. The film's final shot is especially side-splitting with Ferrell going "all out", as well as the credit sequence, which features a memorable Vaughn coaching a kid's soccer team and having a blast. Preview audiences for this flick have apparently been cracking up monsters, but I can't say that I was chuckling on a consistent basis myself. I don't know what it was, but the film seemed to have too many slow patches, exposition and character relationships (most of which didn't work). It also fell into major "predictable" mode during its final thirty minutes, which weren't nearly as inspired as the film's first act. Having said that, if you enjoyed movies like PORKY'S, THE WEDDING SINGER and yes, even FIGHT CLUB, you will surely fall upon a number of bits that will tickle your nuts here as well. I'm personally looking forward to seeing this movie again...drunk...and with friends (now there's an endorsement and a half!)
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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