Old School review by Tom Blain

I nearly shat myself

I know the college comedy genre has been tread and re-tread over and over. It all started with Animal House which still holds up as one of the funniest movies ever made. Revenge of the Nerds introduced us to the computer dork generation at a time when Bill Gates was still prone to the occasional wedgy. Those nerds could party and the nerds could make us laugh. In the 90s, a little viewed movie named PCU came out. It took the college comedy through a campus where political correctness your code of conduct, and luckily the underdogs of the movie wanted nothing more than to break those rules. Scroll 10 years forward to 2003, and enter Old School.

Old School is about a group of 30-something guys who are reliving their college days without the classes. Mitch (Luke Wilson) finds his girlfriend (played sluttily by Juliette Lewis) in the middle of an orgy party one night and decides to move out. Good choice. He winds up, unknowingly, in a house on a college campus and his buddies Frank and Beanie (Will Ferrall and Vince Vaughan) couldnt be happier. They begin throwing wild parties and before long, turn Mitch's home into a full fledged fraternity. The guys pissed off the uptight Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven, who was on the other side of the law in PCU) who will do anything he can to get them kicked off campus. Toward the end, they come together as a team and show that their cohesiveness is stronger than his determination to rid the campus of the fun loving bunch.

If it wasn't for Will Ferrall this movie might lose about 3 points. The guy just leaves me in stitches after every scene. He brings an energy to the film much like a John Belushi. At times he puts on a happy face in front of his wife, and appears to be mild mannered. But you can see there is a 'Mr. Hyde' waiting to be unleashed. After one funneled beer, ole Will becomes "Frank that Tank" and the laughs never stop. This is probably the funniest movie I have seen Will Ferrall in, period.

Vince Vaughan shows us once again that he can be funny. In his role as Beanie, he plays both father and party animal as if there is no line dividing the two. He brings his kid straight from soccer to the fraternity, but is ever so careful to guard him from all the profane language his friends throw around. Vaughan was hilarious in Swingers as the confident player, Trent, but since then, there has been little of interest comically or dramatically. Its refreshing to see him get back into comic roles like this.

The plot is tried and true; who doesnt love a good college flick? While it doesnt break new ground for the genre, it does perpetuate it in a way that raises the bar for the next college film. Old School puts itself on the mantle of great college films right next to Animal House.


9 out of 10 Jackasses

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