2006
Rated: PG-13 for sexual themes, adult language, crude humor, and violence.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Steve Pink
Running Time: 1:32
Review by: Felix Vasquez Jr.
Review Date: 8/25/06
Special Features:
Not Announced
ACCEPTED

 

I’ll say I had zero expectations in regards to “Accepted”, mainly because it looked so ridiculous, and vapid. And it is, but I enjoyed it, because it provides a very entertaining ninety minutes that starts out as a typical college comedy and transforms into a somewhat interesting social commentary. And it’s funny as hell. I like Justin Long a lot, I’ve liked him since “Jeepers Creepers” and in “Accepted”, he’s funny as a quasi-Ferris Bueller named Bartleby Gaines who has slacked off through high school, and to prevent breaking it to his family that he can’t get into any schools, he instead invents a school which then snowballs into a grand hoax.

He creates the South Harmon Institute of Technology (Look at the acronym, it’s very intentional), and discovers that the news of the school has broken out to every reject and invalid within a hundred mile radius. “Accepted” made me laugh out loud constantly, and that’s due to the strong script which hurls memorable one-liners back and forth, particularly from Adam Herschman (you may remember him from “40 Year Old Virgin”) who is very funny as Glen, an eager over-achiever who has to contend with his friend’s plans to expand the school as the obstacles become harder and harder. He’s really given all the best lines and plays the uptight foil attempting to keep the secret from getting out; he also has one hysterical scene in particular where he shows his inner-woman.

“Accepted” is an interesting and very entertaining throwback to eighties comedies; sort of like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” meets “Risky Business” in the spirit of “Camp Nowhere”. It has more heart than the crappy “Van Wilder” and really tries to make a point by the time the climax rolls around. But the film is watchable because it’s a lot of fun. The gags are often very hysterical from the chef who invents a food called wads, the hyper ADD inflicted student who is confused for a mental patient, and the strippers who have no definition of the word discretion.

And then there’s Lewis Black who is hilarious as the misunderstood angry psychotic dean of their pretend school. But beneath it all, “Accepted” really aspires to have a point, and in its own merits, it succeeds. In the end it makes a commentary on how American education, particularly college education forces you into a corner, instead of giving you the profession you chose to pursue. The students are told what to learn, instead of catering to their ambitions, and are forced to lower their own ambitions or leave college. You have to appreciate a comedy that tries to be more.

The message of “Accepted” is this: It’s okay to be mediocre. Now in a world that’s actually subscribed to the ideal that trying your best really is frowned upon, and to perform at a mid-level to spare everyone else’s feelings, “Accepted” really is misguided and moronic. While the moral of the faulty education system is interesting, the message of being mediocre and average as an acceptable lifestyle is pretty idiotic in the fact that it sends out a bad message and a potentially damaging one. When we first see Bartleby, he’s taking fake ID pictures and not even in class, and we’re supposed to sympathize because he didn’t get into college.

And the film asks us to feel bad for him because since he didn’t work hard in school, it’s horrible that he didn’t get into college. Most of all, there’s the immense lapse in logic that audiences will have a hard time swallowing. There’s asking us to delay our disbelief: Creating a fake letter and tricking your parents into believing you were accepted into a fake school, and then there’s insulting our intelligence: They’re building and renovating an abandoned mental institution across the street from an actual college, and no one notices, or asks questions, or puts to rule regulation and zoning laws, or notices that the abandoned building has been taken up by a bunch of people, or that there’s not actually a branch to Harmon University. That’s a hard pill to swallow that keeps “Accepted” from really taking off as a purely perfect comedy.

The movie is dumb, the message is completely stupid, and the plot insults our intelligence, but I had fun because Justin Long and Adam Herschman are hilarious, Lewis Black chews the scenery; I dug “Accepted” and if you approach it as a pure guilty pleasure, you’ll enjoy it.

  • The hard rock “Eleanor Rigby” remake that plays in the film is awful.
  • Blake Lively is hot

 

 

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