Friday, August 18, 2006


Directed by Steve Pink

Now I know Universal thought they had it made this summer when they had Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and now honorary Frat Pack member Justin Long opening movies each month. And once again, can't people be inspired to make anything good at all anymore? Even a cheap comedy blows by with hardly a laugh. Three writers on this picture, and you can tell they all wanted to go different directions.

Bartleby Gaines (Long) has been rejected by all of the schools he's applied for, even Ohio State! Pressured by his parents to get into college anyway, he dreams up this idea that he could just make one up with a fake acceptance letter and a website constructed by his friend Sherman Schrader (Jonah Hill, who has been begging you to ask about his wiener all summer), a friend who actually got into a good college and is trying to rush BKE with the requisite hazing befitting of a portly nerd. The subterfuge lasts long enough until Gaines's parents actually want to see the college (who would have thought?) and the dean. So Gaines, with the help of other rejected teens find a former mental hospital, spruce it up just enough to look presentable, and hire Lewis Black to be the dean. That subterfuge lasts until it is discovered that the fake website is functional and hundreds of rejects have been getting accepted at the fake South Harmon Institute of Technology (take a little time to work out the acronym; it's milked for everything it's worth), complete with tuition checks.

Neighboring Harmon, trying to compete with the bigwigs such as Harvard, given full menace in the form of Dean Van Horne (Anthony Heald) and chiseled rich dick Hoyt Ambrose (Travis Van Winkle), want the land that South Harmon occupies, and will do anything to get it. Ambrose's girlfriend Monica (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants hottie Blake Lively), becomes a source of contention when she decides to "transfer" to South Harmon, getting the totally believable (ahem) romance between she and Long underway, of course based on a lie eventually to be found out and lead to a courtroom conclusion.

Movies like this, you just grade them on whether they're funny, and it's not. There's one scene where I could see potential, as Long's character gets into Van Wilder territory (who would have thought there would be praise for that movie down the road?), evoking Ryan Reynolds in that cult classic. Unfortunately, that's one isolated moment. Also, if we're going to be asked to swallow this incredible amount of nonsense concerning the plot, I think the movie could have gone balls to the wall with nonsense and had a looser feel, maybe push it into R-rated territory (the movie is incredibly lame, with Lewis Black actually getting censored in one moment at the end to preserve that rating).

Also, with undisputed college humor kings Animal House and Old School, surrounded by other cult movies like Van Wilder and PCU, this adds nothing to the crowded genre.


At 8/18/2006 06:38:00 PM, Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

I thought with Steve Pink on board this one might still be old-fashioned funny fun, but clearly not .. I still might take a chance on it, but thanks for the warning

At 8/18/2006 07:32:00 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Yeah, with his pedigree, as I imagine you are referring to his writing assists with Grosse Pointe Blank and High Fidelity, it certainly could have had some promise. It's his directorial debut, though, so maybe he's just getting his feet wet. It's a bad start, unfortunately.


Post a Comment

<< Home