Ahhh, Can you smell that in the air? Plastic cups and ping-pong balls fresh out of the packaging and the clean lemony-piney aroma of a brand new (cleaned heavily to hide various human fluids to appear new) dorm room just waiting to be broken in with another full year of good old fashioned debauchery. Its Orientation Week '08, and that means this week we're taking a look at the new movie in theatres this week, College.
As you may have seen from the previews, College follows three High School seniors who go on a road trip to spend orientation week at Fieldmont University, where hilarity ensues.
First of all, something about this movie that dawned on me almost instantly in the theater is that it's been done before. Now, now, don't jump to conclusions and get me wrong; I'm not some kind of brainless idiot here to complain about another college genre movie. Every kind of movie has been done before about a million times, and when they're done right they're hilarious. That's not what I'm talking about. Animal House, Old School, American Pie and Road Trip are all college genre movies but all stand out for different reasons.
What I had a problem with was not the genre, but the way it was all executed. Let's see, three High School seniors who all happen to be kind of lame; a normal-ish guy, a fat over the top vulgar guy, and a scrawny uber nerd. The normal-ish guy is a laid back sort of person who for some reason is bff with the fat vulgar guy, and scrawny uber nerd hangs out with them both because he's friends with normal-ish guy, despite the fact that he's always getting picked-on constantly in a harmless yet mean way by the fat vulgar guy. The scrawny uber nerd has barely ever talked to a girl and doesn't know how to act in the hallway when in the vicinity of a hot one that catches his eye, the normal-ish guy is after a particular girl and has tension dealing with his bff the fat vulgar guy, whose only goal is to get crazy sex. Now maybe it's just me, but I can't help but think that all of this sounds really familiar. For those of you too lazy to click the links I provide, I'm talking about Superbad.
These movies run really close to each other. My brain may have been playing tricks on me, but I'm pretty sure that I even heard a quick delivered line in the background of College that sounded like Superbad's "I'll be right back, I have to take a piss Well come on bitch, my dick won't shake itself!" (It was quick and didn't register, so I may need confirmation on this also the movie is just out so there is no ?quotes' section on IMDB as of this moment). Anyway, there's a lot of buzz going around accusing College of being a Superbad rip off, but there's also a lot of buzz going around claiming that College was actually filmed BEFORE Superbad. Regardless of who did what first, there are two things that I know for sure: Superbad worked, College not so much.
One of the reasons why that's the case is because College feels like it's targeting the wrong audience. Superbad was targeted towards the college/young adult audience, and it worked, even though the movie was about High Schoolers. College on the other hand feels like it was a movie made BY High Schoolers whose only real world College information has come from watching TV shows and hearing stories from their big brothers. Yeah, that's right; this movie is a High School movie not a college movie it just happens to take place IN a college.
I recently noticed that this movie is actually rated R but the previews don't look like clips taken from an R movie? Are the previews misleading?
The short answer is no " This is not secretly a really intense movie being covered up by cutesy previews it really just is cutesy. Now there's nothing wrong with making a movie that is going to win with the High School crowd but if that's the case, why does it feel like this movie trying to be so badass? Calling this movie College and giving it an R rating? Why? For those of you who went out and see it, you'll probably agree with me when I say that this movie feels like a bunch of Nickelodeon execs decided to make a movie, realized the script was a PG, and then just crammed it full of random vulgarity to try and prove they could make ?something dirty' if they really wanted to.
What do I mean by that? Well, it just seems too over the top and realistic that it almost breaks the fourth wall. I'm sure as you've seen from the previews, there's a scene where Carter (Andrew Caldwell) and Morris (Kevin Covais) find their best friend Kevin (Drake Bell) naked and duct taped to a statue in the middle of campus. Is that funny? Sure it is, but the way we're introduced to the shot is along with a tour group that happens to be walking by, which gasps then casually walks off, continuing with the tour. Come on, really? Apparently this is Campy University where things like this happen on the constant. Ok that may be a bit harsh, but it doesn't change the fact that the whole movie feels silly and like a Nickelodeon piece but omg with cursing!!11!
Also, the plot could've been a lot stronger. Carter, Morris, and Kevin all go to Fieldmont University together after Kevin's girlfriend dumps him because he's "too boring". His game plan? Go to the craziest parties possible at his weekend at Fieldmont and text her video footage to prove her wrong. The only problem is the dorm room they were all assigned to stay at by the University is occupied by some creep who intensely masturbates to animal porn. They don't want to miss out on the party scene, so they decide to crash at a local frat house who puts our boys through hell due to the fact that they currently have no pledges of their own to torture. The three of them get fed up quickly and want to leave, but if they do, they'll miss out on the frat parties and will have to go back to the animal-porn loving dorm mate. In my opinion, that's a pretty weak conflict. Couldn't they have just gone to someone at the University and said "Hey, this guy you paired us up with is cranking it to sheeptube, can we get reassigned?" Also, they make it seem like if they move out of the frat house, then they won't be able to hit up any of the parties why? All the parties in the movie take place at the frat houses, and it's not like they need a map to get there or some kind of crystal skull key to get in just $10 to the guy at the door like it's always been since the beginning of time. In addition to that, the evil ?frat guys' who torture our High Schoolers are all way over the top mean. Sure, they don't have any pledges of their own to torture, but at a certain point it just all too much. For all you South Parkers, anyone remember that episode when they all go out skiing and that one random douche bag starts picking on Stan for no reason calling him "Stan DARSH"? It felt just like that the whole time.
There are some parts that made me laugh however. Andrew Caldwell (vulgar tubby kid who looks like he should be truffle shuffling) gave me a good number of chuckles, but there were a lot of times when it seemed like he was trying way too hard to be funny. Nick Zano and the rest of the douche bag frat guys, although over the top at times, were one of the only parts of the movie that gave me any laughs. Maybe it was due to the fact that the director of this movie, Deb Hagan, has pretty much has nothing else on her resume and therefore doesn't have a lot of experience directing, but overall the movie just wasn't great.
The Bottom Line: In my opinion, you should probably wait until this gets shown on TV to give it a chance Don't kill yourself to go see it in theaters unless you really, really want to. I mean hey, you could always just go see Disaster Movie, I'm hearing great things about that
snicker. See it if you must, but remember that Pineapple Express and Tropic Thunder are still holding up strong on rottentomatoes as the two funniest movies of the summer, and I'm still going to have to concur.
Grade: College is really, really campy and could've been put together much better. Aside from a less-than-strong story and direction, there were still a couple laughs to be had here and there, but in the end it was less funny than your average comedy. C-
Next up, Righteous Kill. Questions, comments, CHMovieReview@gmail.com