Running Time: 90 minutes
Starring: Justin Long, Lewis Black, Jonah Hill, Blake Lively
Directed By: Steve Pink
Rating: 6 out of 10
A few college rejects decide to make a fake university to fool their parents.
As long as there are colleges and universities in the States we will never run out of coming of age comedies based on them. This movie kind of resembling a modern day Revenge of the Nerds does some things very well and others not so much but it is always entertaining. The story follows a teenager named Bartleby. He is a high school student who is coasting through life. His life however is ruined by the fact he doesn’t apply himself and doesn’t get into any of the universities he applied to. His parents are furious and disappointed and think Bartleby’s life is over. He then decides with the help of some other college rejected friends to open a fake university to make his parents happy and give him some time to figure his life out.
I am not sure what surprised me most about this film. It was a tossup between I can’t believe I actually liked this movie and I cannot believe Justin Long is a celebrity. The movie starts off with a few examples of Bartleby’s notorious slacking abilities. He makes fake ids for his classmates and you get to see why he is the class clown and dork all at the same time. After the standard college rejection/disappointment from the parent’s scene the movie gets underway. Lets get this straight right now, the story is appalling and no way could happen but I could look past it. Bartleby and a small group of friends come up with the brilliant idea of making a fake college and calling it the South Harmon Institute of Technology which abbreviated is stupidly named S.H.I.T. Too many jokes arise from this grade three type of humor but I guess some people might find that funny. Getting back to the fake school dilemma the problem is the website they put up to fool their parents has a functional acceptance button that accepted anyone who applied. So naturally hundreds of real rejected college students apply and get accepted and start to show up for school. It is a motley crew of characters including geeks, nerds, strippers, behavioral problem kids, and a plethora of other stereotypical cast outs. The wide spectrum of characters leads to many outlets for jokes and laughs. The development of the fake school from finding a building to support all these rejects and developing a faux curriculum is half the fun of this movie.The film is never hilarious but does illicit more than the occasional laugh when they are not recycling old seen before jokes.
Bartleby played by Justin Long is rarely funny in this film. He resorts to terrible slapstick humor like falling over couches and very rarely delivers quality jokes. He is however a decent lead in a comedy because he is able to drive the story allowing his funny supporting cast to take over. His best friend Sherman played by one of my favorites Jonah Hill delivers time after time in this film. His sarcastic one liners will have you laughing from start to finish. And if you don’t find him funny at least you get to see him dress up as a giant hotdog and ask people about his wiener. Lewis Black plays the fake dean for S.H.I.T and although he is loud and as obnoxious as usual he does a good job with the role in this one. Two other worthy mentions go to actor Adam Herschman and Jeremy Howard playing random students. They add to this film even though they are two ridiculous characters. Blake Lively playing Bartleby’s love interest does her role well but could have been any one really.
The story is obvious and conclusion to it even more obvious. It does allow for maximum comedy though and that is all you need. The cliche everyone is someone undertones this film had were quite awful though and hard to take seriously when people are motorcycling into pools and playing football on ladders. Bottom line the movie won’t wow you but it will not bore you either and it will have a few laughs along the way.
Director Steve Pink does an admiral job in his film debut. He gets a random collection of funny people and puts together a film while not totally original is very respectable. The humor is toned back and not all about swearing and crass punch lines. The story is vanilla but never slow and from time to time you will be surprised at how much you might like certain characters. There is a little something for everyone in this film without taking it to the extreme which I liked.
I give this movie a surprising recommendation especially for people looking for a lighter feeling comedy.
T Factor + If you like teen comedies this could score higher on the rating list.
T Factor – If you do not like Justin Long this could score lower on the rating list.
If you liked this film reel recommendations: Sex Drive, Old School