Old School (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/05/2003

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

So-so comedy from the director of Road Trip, redeemed by good comic performances from its oddly-matched central trio.

To a British audience, a comedy about a college fraternity almost certainly won’t be quite the crowd-grabbing hit it was in the States, since our knowledge of fraternities extends to movies such as Animal House.

The premise is an interesting one (a group of thirtysomething men trying to recapture their college days) but it’s gradually squandered in favour of a parade of puerile jokes. However, it has its moments and the performances ensure that it remains watchable.

Gangbang Triggers University Career

Luke 'Brother of Owen' Wilson stars as Mitch, a responsible thirty-something male, who dumps his slut ho girlfriend (Juliette Lewis, nice casting) when he comes home to find her hosting a gangbang.

His best buddies Vince Vaughn (as Beanie) and Will Ferrell (as Frank) persuade him to move into an on-campus apartment, because of the endless supply of "ass" that its position offers.

However, in order to stay there, they have to form a college fraternity, so they invite all the on (and off) campus 'losers' (geeks, idiots, fat kids, octogenarians etc) to join too. With "hilarious" results.

The film starts well, as the characters start to go with the flow (people on the street take to calling Mitch ‘godfather’; Frank rediscovers his boozehound alter-ego ‘Frank the Tank’), and the recruitment scenes are bound to raise a few laughs.

Unfortunately, however, it soon turns into an Animal House-style battle of wits with the uptight dean, played by Jeremy Piven.

Stupid Yet Somewhat Thought Provoking

To be fair, if you like Stupid Movies such as Road Trip etc, then you'll probably enjoy Old School. It's a strange film because in some ways it feels like two scripts blended into one movie: a semi-serious one about men who are unable to grow up and face responsibility and an out-and-out, sub-Animal House gross-out frat-boy fest.

There really isn’t that much more to it. Elisha "Kimmeh from 24" Cuthbert shows up for about four scenes, as an underage kid who pretends to be a freshman and sleeps with Wilson. Still, she lies around his bed in her pants, so it's not all bad, if you need Shallow And Obvious Reasons.

Wilson is very good at the laid-back cool thing and he’s more than happy to let Vaughn and Ferrell run away with their scenes – unsurprisingly, Vaughn does his fast-talking ‘Trent from Swingers’ act, while Ferrell specialises in a sort of big, dumb, naked comedy all his own, but they’re both pretty funny.

Similarly, Ellen ‘Midnight Mile’ Pompeo does her note-perfect Renee Zellweger impression again. It’s only a shame that Piven is miscast, as he’s not as funny as he usually is.

In short, the film is watchable if you’re after a dumb comedy. It’s a shame, though, because for the first half of the film, you think they might be going somewhere different. But they're not.

Film Trailer

Old School (15)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 17:26

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