Review Date: September 06, 2006
Director: Steve Pink
Writer: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Mark Perez
Producers: Michael Bostick, Tom Shadyac
Justin Long as Bartleby
Jonah Hill as Sherman
Blake Lively as Monica
A geeky kid who didn’t get accepted into any of the colleges for which he applied, decides to fool his parents by faking an acceptance letter to a local college that doesn’t really exist. But when his parents ask to visit the school, the boy and his buddies have to act fast, rent a place to appear like an actual university and once that’s done, deal with the hundreds of kids who ultimately show up on its front steps, wanting in. Collegiate zaniness ensues.
While this film is an “easy watch” pretty much the whole way through, it’s also pretty fluffy all around with recycled ideas already covered quite well in films like ANIMAL HOUSE and OLD SCHOOL with the unusual kids – those who enjoy to party – rebelling against the “establishment” in order to prove a point about everyone being equal, not to judge a book by its cover, yada-yada-yada. While the message ultimately comes through, thanks mostly to the enthusiastic and believable performance by the always-engaging Justin Long (I’ve dug his shit since his stint as the uber-geek in GALAXY QUEST), the film really isn’t all that funny, and when you’re judging a “comedy”, methinks humor should be at the top of the list, in terms of targets to hit. In fact, I can’t remember any one scene that was particularly laugh-out loud funny, despite a few odd chuckles here and there, and one or two clever lines there and here. The film also stretches its unbelievability factor to the extreme with the filmmakers asking the audience to buy into many very excessive situations, like when close to 300 so-called delinquent and unorganized kids, suddenly become focused and practical enough to create an entire university with their apparent “passion” alone. While this is definitely a “nice thought” and a screenwriter’s wet dream, it’s realistically very hard to swallow, and it doesn’t help that the film tends to focus on the operations of the school, rather than just letting them fade into the background and focusing instead on some specific kids’ issues or something.
But I obviously didn’t wallow on those implausibilities too much, and concentrated more on the film’s overall energy, which was well paced fun. Nervous-twitchy comedian Lewis Black also helped add some oddness to the film, as did “the fat kid”, played nicely by Jonah Hill, but at the end of the day, the film really didn’t have much more than a pretty cool premise and a bunch of scenes featuring students having a friggin’ blast! Now don’t me wrong, I’m about the last person who’s gonna turn down a night of drink, rock and hotties, but if you’re simply gonna pad up your movie with scene after scene of people “having fun” and not really go anywhere original with your plot or characters, it gets tiring after a while—even though I totally appreciated the nod to the Ramones. Sweet! Ultimately, the film also slows down and features the prerequisite showdown between “establishment and the outsiders”, but does feature a happy-go-lucky ending, which despite (once again) not really being based in any sort of reality, did make me smile and look forward to slapping a beer down my throat right after the movie. There is no need for anyone to see this film in theaters though, as it’s a “video movie” through and through, and even then, if you’re looking for big laughs, look elsewhere. The film barely laps 90 minutes and even at that, features a few musical montages. Pad it up, kids…we ain’t got enough meat to make a whole movie! Have them say “shit” about a hundred times, too! Mostly hit and miss.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian