By Fred Topel | Image property of Universal Pictures.
would be the best straight-to-video movie ever. It’s got everything
you’d want from a college comedy knock-off. There’s the cast
of stereotyped personalities: the dumb guy, the smart guy, the schemer,
etc. There’s the crusty academics rabbling against the slobs. There’s
all the partying and anti-establishment there could be, and it’s kinda
funny. Nothing that would blow Vince Vaughn or Steve Carell out of the water,
but if it’s on TV, you wouldn’t change the channel.
The premise is pretty brilliant. A bunch of kids
who didn’t get accepted to their college of choice, or any at all,
start their own so that their parents will stop harassing them. But it gets
out of hand and a bunch of other losers sign up until they realize that
they can actually make a legitimate institution out of it.
The social message is absolutely right. Organized institutions should not
dictate as much of society as they do. However, the film focuses on the
education aspect of college in that message and fails to acknowledge the
real reason college is important. It’s awesome. You get to reinvent
yourself, enjoy freedom and meet the most compatible pool of people you’ll
ever have access to in your life. Even when the fake school gets going,
it’s all about unorthodox education, not so much socializing.
Of course, the fast talking schlub goes for the hot girl who’s dating
the A-hole, and there’s plenty of poolside eye candy and hard partying
antics. The film kind of discovers the other half of its message indirectly.
The community of the school is important, even though it’s all a function
of the institution.
The actual realities of starting a fake school
are awesome. They actually deal with every nitty gritty practicality, with
the smart kid bailing out the improviser with some actual good ideas.
The references are hilarious, as obscure as the Coreys Haim and Feldman
or as randomly historical as Pocahontas. Jonah Hill delivers the best lines
with his deadpan expressions of why some ideas are so bad. Justin Long is
a solid fast talking schemer. What’s less funny is whenever he falls
off a couch or bumps into a door. Come on, that’s desperate. We already
like you for being smart and cool. Don’t demean yourself.
With all of those elements, Accepted is just smart enough
to elevate itself out of the teen comedy ghetto. With comments about anti-Semitism
in fraternities and just what tradition means, Accepted
rewards you a little for laughing at the sillier parts.
It’s too bad that characters like Rory (Maria Thayer) are such caricatures.
If everyone had been as slightly askew as the main characters, Accepted
would have been a classic college comedy. As it stands, it’s certainly
worth watching for a laugh but screams of a greater potential.