out of Five
Running time: 90
Average comedy that's low on jokes and doesn't quite live up to its premise, though it remains watchable thanks to a charming performance by Justin Long.
What's it all about?
Justin Long (from Dodgeball) plays enterprising slacker Bartleby Gaines, who gets his friends to help set up a fake university after he fails to get into college. The scheme is only intended to fool his parents, but when hundreds of similarly rejected kids enrol in the college via the fake website, Bartleby and his friends dress up an abandoned mental hospital and start running their own unorthodox classes.
That the film works as well as it does is almost entirely down to the performances of Justin Long and the actors playing his friends (particularly Jonah Hill as Sherman). Long has spent a few years carving out a niche as a likeable geek type (he was the internet savvy sci-fi obsessive in Galaxy Quest) and it finally seems to be paying off – he gives a charming, charismatic performance, playing a character who, for once, isn't just looking out for himself.
Accepted has a neat premise but it lacks the courage of its convictions and fails to do anything really interesting with it. It's also abundantly clear that it should have been a 15 or 18 certificate film but was forced to cut out nudity, drug references etc in order to secure a PG-13 – you can literally see the spaces where the more risqué moments should have been.
The other main problem is that the film isn't quite as funny as it thinks it is although there are a handful of decent gags and some good one-liners. For the most part, however, the fact that the fake school is called the South Harmon Institute of Technology should give you some idea of the level of humour involved (check out that acronym).
Perfectly watchable but it could have been a lot better.