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Overall Rating
3.75

Awesome: 9.59%
Worth A Look67.12%
Just Average: 13.7%
Pretty Crappy: 8.22%
Sucks: 1.37%

9 reviews, 19 user ratings



Accepted
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Far Smarter and Funnier Than The Ads May Suggest"
4 stars

On the surface, “Accepted” looks like one of those late-summer dregs that the studios dump on the market in the hopes of scoring a few dollars from audiences who have grown weary of the long-running blockbuster titles. After all, with a generic title, a no-name cast and a premise that would tax the credulity of even the most devoted fan of dopey teen comedies, how good could it possibly be? Strangely enough, it turns out to be pretty good after all. Sure, it is silly and inconsequential but it has been made with a lot of energy and enthusiasm and contain a surprisingly high number of solid laughs, which is more than I can say for the likes of such recent comedic misses as “The Break-Up,” “You, Me and Dupree” or “Talladega Nights.”

To be honest, the conceit of the movie is less than promising. After failing to make it into any college, graduating senior Bartleby (Justin Long) decides to put more effort into keeping the news from his parents than he did into getting into school in the first place. (Seriously, how can anyone not make it into Ohio State?) Using bits and pieces from the letterheads of schools that rejected him, Bartleby, with the help of nerdy best pal Sherman (Jonah Hill), invents the non-existent South Harmon Institute of Technology–the alleged sister school of the esteemed Harmon University–creates a website and sends himself a letter of acceptance. Relieved, his parents give him the tuition money but want to visit the school, so Bartleby rents an abandoned mental hospital, cleans it up with the help of some other friends in the same boat–stoner Glen (Adam Herschman), injured athlete Hands (Columbus Short) and red-headed firebrand Rory (Maria Thayer)–brings in Sherman’s Uncle Ben (Lewis Black), a discredited academic now working in a Foot Locker, to pose as the dean of students and successfully fools his parents. Unfortunately, the website has an unforseen glitch and before long, hundreds of students show up with letters of acceptance and tuition checks of their own.

Instead of simply admitting that his hideous web of lies and deceit has blown up in his face, Bartleby decides on the spot that they will become a kind-of, sort-of institute of higher learning in which the students will create their own classes and teach each other. For a while, everything goes along swimmingly–the most popular classes include one in which Uncle Ben goes off on long rants that make him sound suspiciously like Lewis Black and a course entitled “The Decline and Fall of Chevy Chase”–until they attract the attention of the real Harmon University and its evil dean (Anthony Heald), who wants the property in order to build an extended gateway to his own campus. Before long, South Harmon is shut down and everything seems gloomy until Bartleby and Co. are given a chance to appeal for accreditation before the state Board of Education. I won’t reveal the outcome but if you can’t guess it from what I have written thus far, you may also be intrigued with the question of whether Bartleby’s dream girl (Blake Lively) will wind up with him or go off with the evil BMOC of Harmon U.

As I said, the plot of “Accepted” is as silly as they come–it sounds more like the subplot for a middle-of-the-road episode of “The Simpsons” or “Family Guy.” And yet, within that silly framework, the film comes up with a lot of funny jokes that come out of nowhere and blindside you with their utter strangeness. To give away any of them would, of course, be criminal but I would suggest that if you enjoyed the off-beat humor of such weirdo gems as “Real Genius” or “Better Off Dead,” you will find much to enjoy here. I will, however, single out Jonah Hill as the nerd desperately trying and failing to fit into what he has been convinced is the traditional college experience (i.e. constant humiliation by members of the fraternity that he is trying to pledge) because he brings such a giddy tone to his lines that he scores the biggest laughs in the film just by the intonation he brings to a line such as “Wow–this place is great because now I can get hepatitis.” He is so appealing, in fact, that you wish the filmmakers could have found a way to bring him more into the proceedings–by comparison, star Justin Long is okay (I like the running commentary he delivers whiles sneaking into the evil Harmon U. frat house) but a little too bland to inspire the devotion in his fellow “students” that drives the final act.

At the same time, director Steve Pink (making his debut in that capacity after serving admirably as the co-writer of such greats as “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “High Fidelity”) manages to make some subtle and effective points about how the contemporary collegiate experience is no longer what it was once cracked up to be. Instead of being a place where young minds can find a field of study that interests them, they are now being programmed to have their entire education programmed before they even have a chance to gain the freshman 15 and any deviation–even if you are a star athlete whose playing days and scholarship dreams are cruelly taken away after a mishap on the field--is severely frowned upon. (Black has a brilliant monologue along these lines that describes how the educational system has turned into a “serve-us industry.) I’m not saying that “Accepted” is saying anything new or radical along these lines but the mere acknowledgment of such real-world issues in a film that could have easily just been crammed with wall-to-wall gross-out gags is a welcome inclusion indeed.

“Accepted” is by no means perfect–the central conceit of secretly creating a school from scratch without anyone noticing otherwise is too silly to ever be believable and I wish that Pink and the various screenwriters could have figured out a more clever way to conclude the film than with the faux-courtroom theatrics before the Board of Education (especially since the only really funny line is an inadvertent one–the evil dean complains that South Harmon has only one teacher for 300 students, which would indicate that he hasn’t visited a typical 100-level class anytime recently)–and it may seem to some to be a little too slight after the hard-sell antics of an ambitious and expensive film like “Talladega Nights.” To these eyes, “Accepted” is like the South Harmon Institute of Technology to the Harmon U. that is “Talladega Nights”–it replaces the smug, self-satisfied attitude with a lot of laughs and charm and the film, much like the school, is all the more appealing because of it.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14958&reviewer=389
originally posted: 08/18/06 04:04:07
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User Comments

7/20/08 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, Jonah Hill is awesome! This was an interesting idea for a movie. 4 stars
7/18/08 Shaun Wallner This was a funny movie. 4 stars
6/05/08 PAUL SHORTT FEELS LIKE ITS BEEN PEELED OFF THE FLOOR OF A BATHROOM STALL, ITS MOLDY AND COLD 1 stars
3/02/08 SamanthaPayntr super unbelievable, but still super funny, and i love Jonah Hill! 4 stars
2/10/08 donald it was junny but unbelievable. 3 stars
11/23/07 Tiffany Losco Pretty funny. 4 stars
9/29/07 Sardonic Monkey Some fun laughs, but the plot was a little too far-fetched, plus some cardboard characters. 3 stars
7/10/07 Charles Tatum Formulaic, but still a charming little flick with actual laughs 4 stars
7/06/07 AnnieG My son headed to college this year refused to watch it, but I found it cute. 3 stars
3/28/07 zak Good TP. Took me back. 4 stars
12/19/06 Horny Bitch OMG! I was ready to fuck after I saw it 5 stars
11/29/06 Drew Galletti Not as bad as I expected... actually pretty funny 3 stars
11/23/06 Zaw Very funny flick. I couldn't believe I waited this long to see this one! 5 stars
9/11/06 Michael Coovert Loved it!! Light-hearted but with a real, meaningful message!! 5 stars
9/08/06 michael good story 2 see funny too 5 stars
9/07/06 Tiffany It was really funny 4 stars
9/03/06 Ryan Darc i thought this movie kicked ass... one of the better movies ive seen in awhile 5 stars
8/27/06 Adam Halarious! The perfect movie to see when you hve some spare times 5 stars
8/23/06 nick this movie was so funny 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006

UK
  06-Oct-2006

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Steve Pink

Written by
  Mark Perez
  Adam Cooper
  Bill Collage

Cast
  Justin Long
  Lewis Black
  Anthony Heald
  Jonah Hill
  Blake Lively
  Maria Thayer



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