Friday, March 22, 2013

Admission: Movie Review


Likable actors attempt to overcome the lack of jokes.
"Admission" was billed as a comedy, too bad it's not. Even when we're introduced to Portia (Tina Fey), I still couldn't figure out what type of comedy they were going for. There just doesn't seem to be any inherent comedy in the university admission process. But when Portia accidentally kisses high school director John (Paul Rudd), it finally becomes clear that this is in fact a romantic comedy, a dramatic romantic comedy. 2013

Directed by: Paul Weitz

Screenplay by: Karen Croner

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff and Michael Sheen

Tina Fey stars as Portia Nathan, Nat Wolff stars as Jeremiah Balakian and Paul Rudd
stars as John Pressman in ADMISSION.
The actors were definitely in their element. Tina Fey's Portia is the professionally- minded business woman who only kind of wanted it all. She wanted a promotion at work and to read poetry in bed with her British boyfriend Mark (Michael Sheen) without much need for intimacy. I know what you're thinking, the perfect 30 Rock reunion. But, no, Mark is not Wesley Snipes, and their relationship isn't hilariously bad, just sad. But then Paul Rudd enters the picture incorporating the best of a country bumpkin and a privileged rich kid. He was irresistibly charming with that dimpled smile and those sparkling green eyes. Even if the pairing doesn't provide the comedy we're expecting, Fey and Rudd do make a good romantic couple with great chemistry.

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in ADMISSION, an eOne Films release.
There is a plot. John introduces Portia to a high school student who he thinks is the son she put up for adoption years ago, and who now wants to attend Princeton. Portia has to figure out if she's ready to be a mother and if Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) should be accepted into Princeton. It's not a bad story, just not a particularly funny one. There is a fish-out-of-water or clash-of-cultures element to the movie with the Princeton campus representing the rich and privileged city folk and John's high school full of underdogs who live in the country and think and act differently than their city counterparts. The characters are all good characters so they hold our interest despite the lack of substance to the movie.

The laughs are hard to come by, but if you're thinking in terms of a dramatic romantic comedy, then that shouldn't be too surprising. But the lack of laughs is a detriment to the comedy this supposedly is. As I said, the characters are good. And if you really connect to Portia's predicament, then we have a nice little mid-life crisis turned coming-of-age flick. But that's going to be a small audience. The actors luckily have fans, and deservedly so, they have arguably never been better on the big screen. Depending on your love for Rudd and Fey, "Admission" is probably best left on the wait list.


Friends with Kids (2011) - Authenticity and maturity to a dramatic romantic comedy.

Jesus Henry Christ (2012) - Eccentricity and precociousness put to the paternal test with hilarious results.

Our Idiot Brother (2011) - Light on the comedy but so charming that "Our Idiot Brother" is likable.