Starring Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, Kevin Covais, Haley Bennett, Ryan Pinkston, Gary Owens
Written by Dan Callahan & Adam Ellison
Directed by Deb Hagan
Rated R, 94 mins.,
* (out of ****)
With ownership of plenty of teen comedies (despite never seeing Revenge of the Nerds, sadly), I find myself constantly defending the films from others who find them to be complete garbage. And perhaps they are crap, but I like ‘em. But, I have never felt guilty – or insulated, for that matter – for liking them. College, however, made me feel embarrassed not only for myself, but all parties involved; this was just…bad. And considering how October brought us the actually decent Sex Drive, I had not-so-high hopes (but hopes nonetheless!) that College would be worthwhile. It is, in a sense, to show future teen comedy directors and writers what not to do.
I have no doubt that plenty of teens ate every second of this walking cliché up as if it was the freshest and most original comedy they’ve ever seen; for me, however, this was just a total disaster (get it? Disaster Movie? get it? I'm referencing my reference; just like those movies!!!). There simply is no reason to see College when what this film is has been done a thousand times better by a thousand other movies.
But, good news is, there is one redeeming quality for the movie. Nope, it's not the gratuitous nudity (and there's plenty, but oddly, all those girls are quite unattractive), but the "payback" moment that saves the day. This might be a huge potential spoiler for anyone who can't figure out the film's finale from the plot synopsis below, but the trio take revenge on the fraternity that have been a major pain in their ass, and the revenge is sweet.
The basic premise for this Best Original Screenplay nominee is high-school boy gets dumped (Kevin - Drake Bell) by party-a-lot girlfriend Gina (Tal) for being a predictable bore, and so to show that he can be Mr. Party-A-Lot, too, Kevin and his friends Carter (Caldwell; aka Jonah Hill) and Morris (Covais; aka McLovin) spend the weekend at Fieldmont University to party and get laid as much as possible. But once there, all three find "love" in unexpected places, and experience life in ways they can't possibly imagine (I'm sorta embellishing here). However, to complicate matters (considering that they are posing as college students and not the high schoolers they actually are), the rowdy fraternity house they're staying at begins to not-so-much like them anymore, and threaten the trio's newfound relationships!
When the movie concluded, I was suddenly struck with negative thoughts that I wager everyone else around me think as I watch these films:
- Enough with the fat-kid-making-wise-cracks-but-actually-has-a-sweet-heart character. Only one person did that well enough (Clarke Duke, Sex Drive), and the other dude (Jonah Hill of everything Judd Apatow) is an obnoxious force of epic proportions. It’s time to retire this bumbling, jackass of a cliché. Concerning Andrew Caldwall as Carter Scott, aka the fat-kid this time around, that boy has no acting ability whatsoever (not like that's a prerequisite anymore these days). He spends the entirety of the movie making the mandatory dick & fart jokes, and constantly yells the word "fuck" around like he's been restrained from saying it by his over-protective parents his entire life, and has now used this movie to seize ever opportunity he possibly can to say this "big boy" word. I honestly have no clue why Kevin and Morris are his friends - I personally wouldn't give this asshole the time of day.
- This is not college life. Admittedly, I’m not enrolled in some big-time college with the Greek system and all that jazz - as I’m comfortably attending the local community college, but from my experiences alone here - the life depicted in this film and many others like it is far and wide away from reality. Of course, there are colleges that have insane parties with heavy drinking and promiscuity, but nonetheless, I still don't think it's anywhere near the party center as depicted in films. I would very much like for this uber cliched representation to eviscerate and have a bit of reality to it.
- How immature do you have to be to think a guy drinking beer from another dude's butt crack is funny instead of completely revolting? Sadly, this is only one of many strange pranks that occur that are meant to elicit a laugh, but just resulted in me covering my eyes in shame that I paid $1.07 to rent this pile of shit. I just don't understand why teenagers think piss and shit are friggin' hilarious - am I missing something? Oh well, could be worse.
- College is directed by a woman (Deb Hagan), and normally I don’t give a damn, but the ironic thing is that even I felt this film was demeaning to women, and the fact it’s directed by a woman and not a perverse guy puzzles me. Why would Deb Hagan want anything to do with this? Sure, it’s better than being involved with an Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg production, but not by much. If it wasn’t for that one saving grace at the film’s conclusion, I wouldn’t find any difference in badness between the two projects. But seriously Deb, why did you agree to film this?
- And can we spice up the script, please? We all know the film will end with our main character having an epiphany ("I just need to be me! That's all I really need! Make me strong! Get ready, game on!" - er, sorry, sorta trailing off into High School Musical 3 territory now; excuse me) and that the new girlfriend will find out he lied about being a college student and that will put a rift in the relationship where she can trust him, yada, yada, yada. At least Superbad (which this movie is more than modeled over; it's like they took the general concept and translated it into a college setting) had some brains - not to mention actual comedy - to help it along to be considered a modern classic.
And finally, the DVD comes with both the theatrical and unrated versions. I, of course, chose the unrated version, and thus can’t comment on any differences between the two. I expect, though, that more gratuitous nudity and “fowl” language was reinserted into the picture, with Caldwell saying a few more “fucks!” Special features wise (they even call the unrated version a special feature!), it’s very, very bare bones. I was expecting a commentary, at the least, with the cast making even more dick and fart jokes. Oh well, I’ll try to live with disappointment. The only bonus material is a 5-minute “Gag Reel”, and I regret to inform you hopefuls that there is still nothing remotely funny featured. Pity.
Now I’m not about to stop watching teenage comedies with mass amounts of swearing and partying, but College really opened my eyes to how stupid the genre is, and how I’ve been lucky thus far to have seen a majority that are actually good. I implore everyone to skip College, and to – at the very least – save yourself the brain cells. Go rent the direct-to-DVD American Pie presents Beta House (2007) from Universal - it does everything this movie did but better, with likable characters and at the very least, you'll enjoy your time.