Time: 90 mins.
SYNOPSIS: When a high school burnout discovers he's been rejected from every college he's applied to, he creates a fake university in order to fool his overzealous parents.
BOTTOM LINE: Justin Long proves he's more than just a schill for Apple in this mildly raunchy college comedy. I'm not sure we needed another film of this type, but at least the premise is original and the plot a bit more clever than most recent forays into this genre. By keeping the comedy somewhat clean and avoiding an R-rating, they've replaced the usual crude and lewd behavior with characters who, though aren't the most responsible or intelligent, still have real goals. Creating the South Harmon Institute of Technology began as a lark, giving Bartleby a way to prove to his parents and secret love that he's not a total loser.
Their website, which was supposed to be just for show, attracts hundreds of other misfits who think the college is real and show up for an education. Instead of returning their money and sending them home, he decides to make S.H.I.T. College a reality. Clearly, he wasn't the only one who needed a place to belong. Believe me the film isn't really that deep, but it does try to have something to say at the end of the day...other than promoting sex and drugs as the only reason to go to college. It's inevitible that he and his compatriots get caught and then have to go up against the establishment to prove yet again why they're worthy, but Bartleby puts up a good fight, making the ending less sappy and more satisfying than it should be.
While this is no campus classic, it is fairly amusing for most of the ride, with a little romance thrown in between Lively and Long that isn't as ridiculous as it first appears. These kids aren't exactly saints, but it's no ANIMAL HOUSE either. By appealing to a younger crowd, they sort of sacrificed being cool enough for their own demographic. Jonah Hill certainly gets his usual foul-mouthed musings in, only this time he has to be crude with a little cleverness since the F-bomb is off the table. He seems to be the voice of this generation and I have to say his appeal is a mystery to me. Long, on the other hand, holds the film together with just the right amount of smarts and charm. While he'll never be leading man material, his performance holds your attention and for a film like this, that's all you can really ask. Mindless entertainment with a bit of heart.