Accepted (2006) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for language, sexual material and drug content
Running Time: 93 min.
Cast: Justin Long, Jonah Hill, Mark Derwin, Lewis Black, Adam Herschman, Blake Lively, Columbus Short, Maria Thayer, Ann Cusack, Hannah Marks, Robin Taylor, Diora Baird, Anthony Heald, Travis Van Winkle
Director: Steve Pink
Screenplay: Adam Cooper, Bill Collage, Mark Perez
Line in the film that would make a more accurate title: "Welcome to S.H.I.T."
The irony of this film's main premise is evident when you realize that it's about a group of kids that have to accept themselves because everyone else rejects them. If the makers of this trash are proud of what they've accomplished, they may be alone. Give yourself a pat on the back, fellas, because it's likely to be the only one you'll get.
Justin Long (The Break-Up, Herbie Fully Loaded) plays Bartleby, a high school dork that grows increasingly frustrated by getting rejection letters from every college he applies to. When his father (Derwin, Dirty Deeds) is unwilling to accept the notion of his boy not going to college, Bartleby decides to phony up an acceptance letter from a fictitious university called the South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.). He even has a good friend (Hill, Click) put up a mock website, but trouble occurs when Dad wants to visit the school his son has been accepted into. The real predicament begins when it turns out that they aren't the only ones to be accepted by S.H.I.T., as the website has been set up to accept every single applicant that applies, drawing in hundreds of misfits that have been rejected by every other school. Bartleby is now forced into making the school a reality, but without any set game plan, it's everyone for himself in seeking higher education.
Just when you thought the Animal House clones have completely run their course, out comes another variation of the same theme. Toss in a little Revenge of the Nerds and Old School for good measure, and you basically have a movie that covers absolutely no new ground of its own.
To say this film is witless would not be an overstatement. If not for the energetic performances of its stars, this would easily be at the top of the college social misfit heap in terms of sheer awfulness, Every single facet of the film's development hinges on an extreme contrivance, which requires an inordinate amount of suspension of disbelief to go with. If the film had delivered solid laughs, it would have been much easier to accept these indulgences, but given the fact that each venture only gains more annoyance, having to watch so many people try so hard to squeeze out laughs when there are none to be found is excruciating.
Accepted is much like the fake school at the heart of the film itself: it's hastily slapped together, directionless, and utterly pointless. Without much humor or any moments of interest, I really don't know why someone deemed this worthy to make, and certainly don't understand why anyone would want to see it. If the lazy bunch of aimless losers depicted in the film were to write a screenplay, the one used for Accepted would probably closely resemble it. That these kids were rejected by every university they applied to isn't nearly as surprising as a major studio accepting this shallow, underdeveloped idea for a comedy.
©2006 Vince Leo