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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.46%
Worth A Look66.22%
Just Average: 14.86%
Pretty Crappy: 8.11%
Sucks: 1.35%

9 reviews, 20 user ratings

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by Todd LaPlace

"If I click, can I be accepted too?"
4 stars

First, let me say that unless you’re a stodgy old critic, “Accepted” is a fantastic little comedy. I must admit, though, that I was left with a few questions. Where was Bartleby housing nearly 300 students? And didn’t any of them notice that their “dorms” looked like abandoned padded cells? Why did everyone blindly accept Bartleby’s leadership when he freely admits to being a student too? And isn’t it strange that he’s buying a big screen TV, bar set and clap-on disco ball for his own massive room? And finally, how rad is a clap-on disco ball?

To paraphrase one of Lewis Black’s “Daily Show” former colleagues, “Accepted”: great comedy or the greatest comedy? Unfortunately, not even Black’s angry ranting schtick can push it above simply great, but considering “Accepted” is just a small throw-away film without any big name stars, I’d say that’s a pretty impressive feat. It’s not quite smart enough to be an indie smash and it’s not quite dumb enough for the gross-out junkies (even though they’re trying to market it to fans of humping an apple pie). “Accepted” is just one of those quirky items that defies standard categorization, which is a shame because so many people missed out on something definitely worth watching.

When high school senior Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) is rejected from eight colleges, including his safety Ohio State College (the fictional cinematic equivalent of my undergraduate alma mater), he decides to appease his hard-ass father and invents his own, the South Harmon Institute of Technology (yeah, the acronym is intentional). Joined by a few friends also in need of post-graduate plans — star football player Hands (Columbus Short), whose injury wiped out his scholarship; smart workaholic Rory (an underused Maria Thayer), whose only choice Yale rejected her; and Glen (Adam Herschman), who’s just an idiot — Bartleby rents a campus, creates a Web site and accepts himself as a member of South Harmon’s 4-person inaugural class. But when the “acceptance is just a click away” Web site accidentally turns out to be functional, the class gets a wee bit (or 75 times) bigger and the fictional school is open for business.

If the premise sounds slightly absurd, that’s largely due to the film being slightly absurd — one of the incoming students wants to learn to blow things up using his mind and one of Bartleby’s dreams turns out to be owning a clap-on disco ball — but there is a great deal of genuine comedy brewing beneath the idiotic veneer. Rookie director Steve Pink previously co-wrote loveable gem “High Fidelity,” giving him some comedy credit (although having two co-writers with “New York Minute” on their resume is almost enough to take it away again). Like “Van Wilder” before it, the jokes are quick and delivered with great aplomb by a likeable lead, in this case Long. Having played the role of slightly awkward teen since 1999’s “Galaxy Quest,” Long manages to slyly and humorous deliver some otherwise groan-worthy jokes. In trying to cover up his eight rejections, Long rattles off a list of famous names that also skipped college. Among them are Albert Einstein, Pocahontas and, of course, both Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. They did have a great run, after all.

But in addition to some genuine comedy, “Accepted” does occasionally throw in a nugget of genuine truth. In attempting to glean a little knowledge about running a school, Bartleby spends an afternoon roaming the hallowed halls of Harmon. In one classroom, he finds a bored monotonous lecturer reading his notes verbatim while stressed out students obsessively jot down every syllable. In another, Bartleby is lectured to by a professor through a speaker. And when he runs into high school crush Monica (Blake Lively), she’s running late to her Ancient Roman History class since she was told not to take her desired photography classes. Having taken my fair share of geology, chemistry, classics and economics classes while pursuing my journalism and cinema studies degree at Ohio State, I’ll be one of the first to agree that this faulty system sucks. Even in my own major, I completed my journalism degree with classes in advertising and public opinion polling. Give me Doing Nothing 405 or Taking a Walk and Thinking About Stuff any day.

Needing to add an additional air of legitimacy to the college, Bartleby gets best friend, reluctant accomplice and actual Harmon student Sherman (Jonah Hill) to enlist his crazy uncle Ben (Black) to pose as the dean. A disillusioned former professor, Ben can most often be found making kids cry by ranting about their brainwashed consumerism, ranting to Bartleby’s parents about the sorry state of an American higher education system that doesn’t teach anything of value, or ranting to Bartleby about his plans to move “off the grid” so he can escape franchise stores and sexual harassment laws. In other words, Black is fully in his element, although the jabs are slightly more unfocused and unresearched than his typical “Daily Show” rantings. That doesn’t stop Black from committing to them, though, as his final message beautifully illustrates at the end of this stellar small comedy: (stated in Black’s typical exaggerated fashion) “Enjoy your time here. You got four years, these are the best years of your life. And then, you’re fucked!”

As a piece of promotional material, I was given a foam hat that’s shaped like a hot dog with the words “Ask me about my wiener” written along the side. Cheesy? You bet. Hilarious? Hell yeah!

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14958&reviewer=401
originally posted: 11/13/06 17:50:27
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User Comments

5/03/20 Bronwyn Blanchard Had they not ditched IV equipment from old hospital, could've been an IV League school! 3 stars
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
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
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  18-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006



Directed by
  Steve Pink

Written by
  Mark Perez
  Adam Cooper
  Bill Collage

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

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