Movie Review: Admission (2013)

Posted: January 25, 2014 in Comedy, Drama
Tags: ,


Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is an admissions officer at Princeton.  Princeton has just slipped to number two in the best colleges in America.  The Dean of Princeton, Clarence (Wallace Shawn) wants more and better students to go to Princeton.   A high school teacher from a small secluded high school named John Pressman (Paul  Rudd) has a high-schooler named Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) that he’d like to introduce to Portia.  Jeremiah may not have the best grades or SAT’s, but he did pass eight advanced placement exams without taking any advanced placement class.  There might be another mitigating factor that might help Jeremiah get into Princeton.  Portia is not having the best of times since meeting Jeremiah, her boyfriend Mark (Michael Sheen) has just impregnated a classics professor named Helen (Sonia Walger) and left Portia. Is Portia in the mood to be charitable to Jeremiah?

There are a couple of problems with Admission.  The first problem is Tina Fey is playing the same loveable loser character that she plays on 30 Rock.  The second problem is that she doesn’t get a chance to do too much comedy.  She is weighed down with too much drama. And what we have ladies and gentlemen is a dramedy, a genre that has never worked since the beginning of time.  The comedy is drowned out by her breakup, issues involving her mother, and even weightier issues than that.  Rudd is stuck playing a globe-trotting do-gooder with an adopted son.   Add to the drama a poor attempt at romance between Rudd and Fey. The women are too strident, both the women in Jeremiah’s high school and Portia’s mother.  Like feminists on steroids.  The ending is just plain disappointing.  And the movie goes on 10 minutes after it should have ended.

The acting is ok, Fey tries mightily to wade through all the melodrama, but she just can’t do it.  Part of the problem with the script is that Fey did not write it.  30 Rock had an incisive, satirical edge that had clear targets and always hit those dead on. I do not know what this movie was trying to say.  Paul Rudd is a good comedic actor, given the right script.  This is not the right script.  Lilly Tomlin, who plays Fey’s mother, has always been a bit too abrasive for tv and movies, that doesn’t change here.

I don’t know who to blame for the writing, the screenwriters, or the author of the book the screenplay was based on.  I couldn’t imagine who would read this book, and then who would make this book into a movie.  Finally, the movie is too long, comedies should never be over 90 minutes

Admission.  Denied.


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