Old School (2003) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for some strong sexual content, nudity and language
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Pompeo, Jeremy Piven, Juliette Lewis
Director: Todd Phillips
Screenplay: Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong
Review published February 16, 2003
In my review for Road Trip, I gave the sophomoric hit negative points due to its "shameful laziness" in delivering a script that "a group of real college kids could write over the course of an evening." Old School is written, directed and produced by the same forces that brought you that film, and I suppose it should come as no surprise that my feelings are exactly the same here.
Luke Wilson (The Third Wheel, Legally Blonde) is the main star, playing Mitch, who comes home one day to find that his significant other has been involved in a secret life of kinky sexual activity behind his back. This doesn't sit well with straight-arrow Mitch, and he moves out to a large house in a small college community. His two best friends, Beanie (Vaughn, Made) and Frank (Ferrell, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), see this as the opportunity for all three to do some non-stop partying, despite the fact that Beanie is married with kids and Frank just got hitched himself. The house becomes the party spot in town, and Mitch is the local hero, dubbed by the community as the "godfather" for the respect he now holds. However things don't bode well for the near future, as Gordon Pritchard (Piven, Serendipity), who as a young man was picked on by the three incessantly, is now the dean of the college, and is going to evict Mitch due to some zoning ordinance (or something.) Seizing on a loophole, Mitch and co. turn the house into a fraternity to maintain ownership, and soon are the founders overseeing a motley crew of students and non-students. Many pranks and partying follow suit.
Old School is about a lazy a screenplay as you'll find these days, written by people who employ very little knowledge of typical university policies regarding fraternities, or even about the rules of life in general. They don't even bother trying to research to at least give the semblance of plausibility to the wholly contrived situations that the story is full of. Every scene and character is merely a set-up for more pratfalls, sight gags, and non-stop goofiness to evoke laughs and little else.
As far as those laughs go, your mileage will definitely vary, depending on your mind-state and level of tolerance for slapstick and sexual innuendo. About the best thing the film has going for it is the crazy antics of SNL alum, Will Ferrell, who literally does anything for a laugh. He steals the show.
Old School is just another dumb comedy with a few decent chuckles every once in a while, and a lot of tedium in between. If you like watching a bunch of drunken frat guys doing stupid things, or if you are a drunken frat guy, you will find the type of entertainment you are looking for. Anyone looking for a good movie should reconsider.
©2003 Vince Leo