What is a teen comedy without an R-rating? It is the American Wedding of the American Pie franchise. She's the Man? Let's face it - PG-13 teen movies are rarely good, even - or especially - when they are promoting themselves as "This generation's Animal House."
Animal House? Are you freaking kidding me? How can a movie with no nudity, no craziness and no one even close to comparable to John Belushi be lined up against Animal House? Now, don't get me wrong - I think Animal House is a bit overrated. Sure, it's funny, but it's a little dated. Still, it has merit and it has entertainment value. Accepted, the new movie starring Justin Long, just doesn't have much of that. To make it these days you have to have an edge, baby... Something that sets you apart from the crowd. When you see your moment, seize it.
Accepted had its moment. When the person who originally came up with the idea of Accepted first came up with the idea, it was a good moment. Hell, let's write a movie about a kid who can't get in to any colleges so instead he starts his own fake one to fool his parents only to have a bunch of other losers show up to join him and so they roam around campus with no professors and lots of hot girls... and let's have no sex or nudity or edginess whatsoever. In fact, let's make the movie a PG-13 and sap all potential out of the story.
Accepted could have been something. Whether it was the studio that decided to dilute this movie down for the sake of making more money (and there I question whether a PG-13 teen movie actually makes more than an R-rated teen movie) or the writers just being stupid, someone is to blame. Sure, the movie has its moments and some good looking girls in bathing suits, but that's about it. None of the characters are especially bad, but not are especially memorable, either. Jonah Hill, who plays Sherman, screams like a girl - that's funny. Long gets extra witty in front of the girl he's trying to impress (the beautiful but young Blake Lively) by making comments about her boyfriend's racism and homophobia - that's funny. But a movie requires more than a few funny pieces to be successful, and Accepted just doesn't get it.
Where are the rowdy college parties? How wild would they get with no chance of getting in trouble? What would the dorms be like with no RA's and no staff to overlook them? How ravenous would young men and women get toward one another with no one to watch them? What would the sole adult, the so-called "dean," do to pass the time? How trashed would the school get? These are the kinds of things I wanted answered, and instead Accepted falls into a standard Revenge of the Nerds storyline, where the underdogs face off against the prissy and privileged rival fraternity and ultimately the accredidation board (Old School, anyone?).
Had Accepted focused on what exactly would happen if a school went out of control because it was never in control rather than on conforming a unique concept to a standard plot, it could have been something. An R-rating, some sex and nudity and some wild, memorable scenes could have made this the next Animal House. Instead, it's nothing close... nor is it Porky's, American Pie, Old School, Fast Times at Ridgemont High or Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Get the point?
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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