Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Somebody smarter than me once told me that people curse because they can’t think of anything else to say.  It wasn’t my mom that said that because she used to curse like a drunken sailor.  And it wasn’t because she couldn’t think of anything better to say either since the woman did have PhD in English for goodness sake.  I think nudity in movies is similar in a way.  The filmmakers may not quite know what to do in a certain spot so they think “Hey!  We might as well put some tits here, unless you got a better idea?”  I personally don’t have a problem with filmmakers being stumped and slipping gratuitous tits in movies.  I don’t have any problem with people running out of things to say and then deciding to run together a string of expletives.  What I do have a problem with is watching a supposed teen comedy with nothing to say, and then they substitute that with more of nothing to say when probably they should have just started cussing.  And I also don’t dig a film with very little to see and then they fill that up with more of nothing to see when they probably could have just dropped in some breast.  What I’m saying is Universal Pictures ‘Accepted’ would have been way more palatable to me if they had thrown it’s PG-13 out the window, added a boatload of unnecessary profanity and inserted some tits to help me pass the time.  As it stands, ‘Accepted’ is one of the most boring and unfunny comedies I’ve seen in a while.

Justin Long is Bartleby Gains.  You know Justin from the MAC v PC commercials that he’s pretty funny in.  Actually, upon some further thought, he’s not that funny in them. The Bill Gatesian PC character is the funny one, Justin’s the straight man.  Bartleby is your basic all around cutup slacker dude who gets by in his young life

cutting as many corners as humanly possible.  But while his young colleagues are receiving their college acceptance letters, Bartleby receives nothing but rejection notices simply because, as his little sister puts it, he’s just too mediocre.  But ever being the hustler, Bartleby enlists his friends Sherman the fat dude (Jonah Hill), Rory the smart girl (Maria Thayer), Hands the black guy (Columbus Short) and Glen the idiot (Adam Hershman) to temporarily create a college so that he can show his parents an acceptance letter and not be such a loser in their eyes.  Sounds like a funny setup actually.

So our heroes track down a dilapidated, abandoned mental hospital just down the street from the esteemed Harmon University and in a period of what seems to be a few hours, they turn this thing into like the dopest, hippest, sweetest looking faux university you’ll ever want to see, replete with a full featured kitchen, pool, skateboard Park and a Madison Garden Style concert hall.  These cats need to be featured on ‘This Old House’ like for real.  Unfortunately word gets out that there’s a U that anybody can get into and our stars are now flooded with slackers from around the land.  Not having the heart to reject them as he has been rejected, Bartleby tells them to bring it on.  He hires a fake dean in the form of the profane realist Uncle Ben (Lewis Black) and school is in session.  But of course the evil, high brow educators down at Harmon don’t like the idea of Slacker U, and are going to do their best to bring it down its knees.

‘Accepted’ has a really good heart to it.  The concept that there is a place that almost anybody can go to no matter how stupid you are is actually kind of sweet.  That very same concept should be really funny too, and after watching the movie, the material is definitely there.  It’s not like director Steve Pink didn’t give it his all because he keeps the jokes keep a coming fast and furious, it’s just that most of them just aren’t that funny, mainly because the script by Adam Cooper and Bill Collage doesn’t take enough chances.  Don’t get me wrong because not all of the jokes missed. I think I laughed out loud about four times, and they were good hearty laughs but not enough for me to classify this flick as genuinely funny.  The script seemed to spend way to much time trying to let us know how cool Bartleby was as opposed to exploiting a lot of the rich material they had at their disposal.

‘Accepted’ was also woefully predictable using the same old ‘boy tricks people, everybody’s happy with boy, bad people tell happy people boy tricked people, people hate boy, boy is redeemed’ story line.  It’s almost painful to watch it unfold.  Plus, anytime we have a bunch a thirty year-olds playing college freshman, quite a few of whom are playing strippers hanging around pool parties, where the hell are the naked people?  Not that naked people would have made it funnier, but they’d at least be there.

Obviously, when a person’s idea of the perfect teen sex comedy is ‘Animal House’, not a lot of movies are not going to measure up to that classic.  But one of the things made ‘Animal House’ or ‘Porkys’ or even ‘Revenge of the Nerds’ work was that those movies held nothing back and cared little if it offended.  ‘Accepted’ seemed to skate around the truly edgy and generally played it down the middle of the road with its comedy.  As the saying goes, a sure way to get run over is to stand in the middle of the road, and thus, ‘Accepted’ ends being road-kill in the landscape of teen comedies.

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