Accepted

| August 17, 2006

First things first for this review: I had the lowest possible expectations for this film. It has had no advanced publicity, I have not seen a Warning (trailer) and absolutely no buzz. It is a PG-13 rated the story about some misfits who start their own college so I immediately think about an R-rated Animal House and this movie has no chance of being good. It’s John Belushi vs. The kid that stars in the Apple/PC commercials.
SO… that being said, let’s take a look at Accepted.
Justin Long (Waiting, Herbie Fully Loaded) stars as Bartleby Gaines, a high intelligence kid who was evidently not challenged enough in high school and didn’t get accepted to any of the eight colleges he applied to. His parents expect him to go to college, any college, so he sets out, with a couple of his friends who likewise didn’t get into college (one only applied to Yale, one lost his scholarship and another is just stupid) so they set up a temporary school to fool his parents.
As we watched them clean up an abandoned psychiatric hospital and turn it into the South Harmon Institute of Technology (and WHAT does that spell out????), my wife turned to me and said “Why couldn’t he just apply to a junior college? They take everyone.” Because, I explained to my silly, silly wife “then we wouldn’t have a premise to the movie and Universal wouldn’t have a reason to spend $15 million on a movie that is gonna bring in about $30 million and turn a tidy profit on teenagers who never SAW Animal House and will think this is the most original and funny movie EVER!”
But back to the story. The kids set up a web site to further fool Gaines’ parents but as an active website, it begins to send out acceptance letters to all of the other Gaineses in Ohio that could not get into a school. About 300 kids show up at S.H.I.T. for classes because, to take a line from An Officer and a Gentleman, “They had nowhere else to go.” So Gaines and his friends begin to organize the college.
With every good rags to riches story, there has to be a heavy and in Accepted, it comes in the form of Boston Public veteran Anthony Heald (my god, Scot Guber got that college job he always wanted) playing Dean Richard Van Horne from neighboring Harmon University. He wants the land that S.H.I.T. sits on to create a larger entrance to his college so he assigns one of his students to take care of the S.H.I.T heads and get the land. All I heard was, “Put Neidermeyer on it. He’s a sneaky little shit just like you.” Whatever. If you want something done right, do it yourself Dean Dick.
Will Dean Horne win? Will Gaines and his gang of misfits gain accreditation and become a real school? Will I ever get to date Drew Barrymore? I don’t think you will really care about the answer to any of these questions and for that reason, I can only recommend Accepted as a rental.
Why? Because I am thinking that there will be an R-rated release on DVD that will be funnier and a bit over the top which is where Accepted never gets. There are some very funny bits and pieces floating around this film, but it never quite gets there in the PG-13 version. There are a lot of four letter words, but taken in total, there is nothing in this film that is remotely going to be as classic as Animal House. NOTHING. Heck, it isn’t even that close to Revenge of the Nerds.
In the realm of school kids gone awry films, Accepted gets a C- and needs to stay after school to write something original instead of cheating off the kid next to it.

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