Stealing Harvard Movie Review
Jason Lee and Tom Green form an unlikely duo in "Stealing Harvard," a lackluster comedy that suffers from conflicting forms of humor and from just being ordinary.
There are bad films, and then there are ordinary films. Ordinary films aren't good, but they aren't bad, either. They are just there. The movie has just enough content to keep itself from being boring, while at the same time never really achieves what is called "entertainment value." There may be some good jokes, but then there are some bad jokes to even out the playing field.
The last paragraph sums up "Stealing Harvard" pretty damn well. It has its moments, but never is all that enticing. It is funny at times, but is also stupid at times as well. It isn't boring, but it isn't entertaining, either. It is just there, and while I can think of many worse films that I could have been watching, I can think of many better ones as well, including some with the similar plots.
"Stealing Harvard" probably will sound familiar. It is about a good-natured man who really needs some money, so he decides to steal it. This, of course, leads to problems that lead to more problems and more after that and eventually everything ends itself in one tidy scene. In a way, it is like "Snatch" or some other Guy Ritchie films, only without the clever jokes, the clever crimes, or the British accents. It is a crime comedy that isn't especially funny.
Nevertheless, as I said earlier, "Stealing Harvard" does have its moments. I am a Jason Lee fan, even though I haven't seen him in all that many great movies (his Kevin Smith films, especially "Chasing Amy" and "Mallrats," are among my favorites). Lee has great comedic timing and his dry, sarcastic sense of humor correlates well with mine. On the other hand, at times I like Tom Green's form of comedy (more so when he is just acting stupid compared to humping a dead moose). Green comes off as an idiot, but he is a smart guy in some sense or another that knows how to appeal to people; he has some great lines in this film, though those lines probably could not have been pulled off by anyone else.
The problem, though, is that Jason Lee's comedy and Tom Green's comedy do not mix very well. From a marketing viewpoint, it makes sense. If you have two different audiences, bring them together by bringing what they like together. From a literal viewpoint, it doesn't always work. The different forms of comedy clash at times, which leads to duller jokes. It would be cool to see Jet Li fight Jackie Chan, but their styles are so drastically different that it wouldn't work. The same is for Lee and Green.
I would recommend "Stealing Harvard" to a limited audience. Some would probably find it very funny. Others would find it incredibly stupid. I am somewhat in the middle. I've seen similar crime comedies done better in the past, but "Stealing Harvard" is not as God-awful as I was expecting it to be.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.