College comedies havenít changed much since the eighties, and Accepted isnít interested in being an innovator. Itís the same story over and over again. A group of lovable losers set up the perfect college experience only to have it foiled by good looking frat boys or an uptight college dean. The losers fight back with all the wacky antics they can muster and everything is wrapped up in 90 minutes with an impassioned speech from the lead loser about the importance of their slacker dream. Canít we all just get along?
We get it. Good looking people hate ugly people. Itís not enough that good looking people are statistically more likely to get better jobs, find better mates, and make more money than the rest of us. Apparently they have to hate us as well. Since they seem to get all the breaks in life while we get absolutely nothing maybe itís us, the uglies of the world, who should be pretty pissed off.
But Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) isn't pissed off at being ugly, heís angry because he didnít get accepted to college. Apparently heís never heard of Community College, so he starts his own school, funded with the money his parents think theyíre paying him for tuition. He calls it the South Harmon Institute of Technology, which officially makes the school S.H.I.T. Bartleby is a Shithead, and soon all of his loser friends want to be Shitheads too. Bartleby rents an insane asylum next door to the real Harmon College, renovates it enough that itíll pass as a University when inspected by unwary parents, and then hires his best friend Shermonís Uncle, a washed up college professor turned conspiracy theorist played by comedian Lewis Black, as his stand-in Dean.
If thereís a highlight to the film itís Dean Lewis and his wild rants about the failure of society and the futileness of higher education. In fact, scrap the script and give us a Lewis Black concert movie and you might really have some. The rest of the movie is pretty predictable stuff. The frat boys from the real school next door get jealous and go to war with South Harmon, Bartleby lusts after the head frat boyís hot girlfriend; Shermon gets hazed and ends up in a hot dog costume begging people to ask him about his wiener. Eventually the S.H.I.T. hits the fan and Bartlebyís school for losers is put in jeopardy. Guess who comes out on top in the end?
Justin Long isnít bad as a comedic lead. Heís good at walking into doors and tripping over couches, but the guy may have a serious typecasting problem. Heís been kicking around Hollywood in teen comedies for awhile now, but heís really gotten peopleís attention recently in those rather great Mac computer commercials. Though you might have known his work pre-Mac, itís hard to look at him now and think of him as anything other than that guy from those commercials. Maybe he should have picked a less creative advertising campaign to star in, something really lousy that people would be more likely to forget. Now heís the Mac computer guy, which puts him up there in a class with the Dell computer guy. As an actor, thatís probably not a good place to be in.
Accepted is a harmless enough college campus comedy. It takes a tired old recipe and follows all the usual steps accurately. I guess thatís not much of endorsement. The movie comes with a few funny moments, but probably not enough to justify going out of your way to verify their existence. Skip it, and catch Lewis Black in one of his guest stints on ďThe Daily ShowĒ instead.
Reviewed By: Josh Tyler