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IN SHORT: Reject it. [Rated PG-13 for Language, Sexual Material and Drug Content. minutes]
Once upon a time, a collegiate comedy set the high mark for low humor with healthy doses of sex and drugs and rock and roll. It was the 1970s and the movie, of course, was Animal House. Of course, things have changed in the last thirty five or so years, though each summer lets loose at least one or two films that try to recapture the old lightning in a bottle. Most fail, as does this year's attempt, Accepted, which has very little sex, less of a hint of the kind of drug usage -- granted, it ain't the 70s -- and, well, rock 'n' roll has been dead for years. The one joke of the film can't be properly told here, though we think even those with a middle school education will figure it out pretty quickly. Why does Accepted drop the ball? The PG-13 rating isn't very forgiving of the kind of comedy the film seeks to honor. The kind that seems to surface once every five years. If it is funny to eleven year old kidlets, may it see many sequels. We won't be sitting for 'em, but the market is the market.
Accepted is the story of young Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) who has been turned down by almost as many colleges and universities as he can count on his two hands. Parents Jack and Diane (Mark Derwin and Ann Cusack) are about as desperate to get the boy out of the house as he is to get out. The only resolution to the problem, so "B" thinks, is to forge an acceptance letter for a University on the other side of town. Once accepted, the parents will be off his back and all will be well. It's not a very forward thinking plan. It's a plan that works because the parents are even dimmer than their pride and joy. Dad signs a check for ten grand and "B" breathes a sigh or relief.
Problem is, once the check is written, the parents want to see the school. Or something. So "B" and fellow rejects Sherman Schrader (Jonah Hill) and Rory (Maria Thayer), and a couple of others, find an abandoned psychiatric hospital, use the ten grand to get it and fix it up, and then watch in amazement as word of mouth brings a full student body to the front door of the "South Harmon Institute of Technology." Needing more brain power to run this train wreck, "B" brings in Schrader's Uncle Ben (Lewis Black) as dean and throws open the curriculum to include any kind of leanin' the kids want to learn.
Granted, some of "B"s friends are legit enrollees at the legit, snobbish mainline school Harmon University, whose dean Dean Van Horne (Anthony Heald), wants the land that (tech) sits on to build a grand entrance to his campus. This helps drive some weak us vs. them humor and brings the lovely Monica (Blake Lively) into the story, as the girlfriend of the H.U. jock sent to bring down S.H.I.... you add the final letter and then complain to Cranky for blowing the one joke. For those that think that watching movies all day is an easy job, we invite you to sit through the clunkers a couple of hundred times. That's what our year is like.
Granted, it is possible that yours Cranky is way too old for this kind of "sophisticated" comedy. We, personally, feel that our brain stopped growing at about age fifteen. We should luxuriate in dumb comedy. We do, if it's funny. This one ain't.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Accepted, he would have paid . . .
28 Weeks Later
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