Monday, August 21, 2006


Written by Hombre Divertido

Accepted is unacceptable:

Never has a film been so confused about what it wanted to be. College frat movie a la Animal House? Sneaky kid gets away with everything a la Ferris Bueller? Weak kids overcome odds a la Revenge of the Nerds? Adolescent message movie a la Pretty in Pink?

This film has several qualities of previously successful ventures, yet achieves nothing.

It is certainly not the performances that cause this film to fail; it is the script and the direction. The cast is clearly talented, and does the most with what they have, but the audience is left with a collection of scenes that don’t belong in the same film.

In the script: high school senior Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long), who has received numerous college rejection letters, devises a plan to fool everyone into thinking he is college-bound. Bartleby and his similarly rejected friends take over an abandoned building, create a fake web site, hire a friend's uncle (Lewis Black) to pose as a dean, and open their own University.

Seems like a good idea, Yet the execution leaves not only a lot to be desired, but too many questions. The plot is riddled with holes as developments go unexplained and characters unexplored. The latter is quite sad as the character actors seem to be pulling desperately at the reins, and clearly the audience wants to see more of them and who they are.

Instead the audience scratches their respective heads trying to figure out: where the quirky best friend fits in as he jumps from helping out with the plan to attending the college next door which just so happens to be populated with the films antagonists; or trying to understand how and why all the new students showed up at the fictional institute; or why the newly appointed dean is the way he is. Unfortunately, scratching is all there is to do as little is explained or explored and the audience is left unsatisfied, if not irritated.

The writers attempt to throw a message in at the end, but it is far too little far too late, and the only message received is that the movie going dollar should have been spent on something else.

Recommendation: This film is a mess. Wait for it to come out on DVD, and then, don’t rent it.