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Old School (2003)

R · 91 minutes

Directed by Todd Phillips
Written by Court Crandall, Todd Phillips

 · Luke Wilson
 · Will Ferrell
 · Vince Vaughn

Review by Thom Stricklin

I didn't have very high expectations for Old School at all. I'm not very fond of any of the cast, and Ferrell in particular has been nothing but annoying in most of his roles outside Night at the Roxbury and the Austin Powers films. Moreover, the trailers looked horribly cliché--almost as if the filmmakers tacked the first fifteen minutes of Swingers onto the duration of Animal House.

With expectations so low, I suppose I had to be proven somewhat wrong.




There isn't much to this film as far as intelligence goes. It is, essentially, nothing more than a dumb frat comedy. However, it's original enough to be considered fresh and not insulting to the audience's intelligence.

The one major lapse in storytelling, I felt, was in the love-interest resolution between Mitch (Luke Wilson) and Nicole (Ellen Pompeo). It was obvious from the moment she set foot on screen that they'd end up together, yet when they experienced the obligatory misunderstanding, it was all but ignored till the last thirty seconds of the film, at which point the writers attempt to catch the audience up through a few lines spoken by Nicole. I'm not too demanding of the writing quality on a film like this, but by low standards, the shortcutting the writers took here was glaringly obvious.




The film had all you could expect from a good college comedy: the party animal--hilariously portrayed by Will Ferrell, I must admit--the cool guy (Vince Vaughn), the reluctant partner of the two (Wilson), topless women, alcohol abuse, insane initiation rituals, an obnoxious dean bent on shutting down the fun, and so on. Yeah, there's nothing original about the film, save that the fratboys are middle-aged men. But it's fun.



Old School is probably not a film you'll need to see in theatres, unless you're out with the guys and want to catch a flick. When it comes out on video, though, sure. Rent it.

321 Words · Published: 28 February 2003

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