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Overall Rating
3.75

Awesome: 9.59%
Worth A Look67.12%
Average: 13.7%
Pretty Bad: 8.22%
Total Crap: 1.37%

9 reviews, 19 user ratings


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Accepted
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by Matt Seaver

"Consistently funny, and a solid step for Hill and Long."
4 stars

“Accepted has one thing going for it from the beginning. Despite all the normal trappings of a silly teen high school/college movie, it recognizes from the get-go that the super-stress situation that some students put themselves into when it comes to college applications is total crap. It’s completely unnecessary for the process to be as painful as it is for some people. And remember, unnecessary pain can be mined for comic genius.

Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) just wants to be like any other kid, and get into college before the end of his senior year. Easier said than done. After being turned away by every single college he applied to, disappointing his parents to a previously-unheard of degree, Justin makes a desperate plea to buy himself some time – he fabricates an acceptance letter from the South Harmon Institute of Technology (yep… S.H.I.T.), a fake sister school to Harmon College (a pretty blatant riff of Harvard). Naturally, his parents are thrilled and relieved, and the pressure is off of Bartleby – until his dad wants some more information about the prestigious institution that he’s never heard of. Bartleby enlists his best friend Sherman (Jonah Hill) to create a website to continue the lie, and some other friends to help him turn a run-down mental facility into a faux college campus. All of it works to fool his parents, but he makes one wrong move: the website includes a button that says, “Acceptance is one click away.” Enter all the other students just short of the standard college line who need a place to be come September. Once they all show up at Bartleby’s new doorstep for “orientation,” he tried to break the news to them. But he created the lie in order to get his parents off his back, so who is he to send all these others back into the clutches of disappointment? So he enlists Sherman’s crazy Uncle Ben (Lewis Black) to be acting dean and faculty member, and starts an alternative education format where students decide what they want to learn, a format that – strangely enough – just might work. But it’s all still a lie, and God knows it’s going to catch up with him one way or the other.

Now, I never had an issue getting into college. I was lucky: I did well enough on my SATs that those alone got me into the school I wanted to attend. My admission process was pretty painless, since I only applied to two schools. But I had friends who applied to upwards of 15 schools. That’s 15 applications, 15 application fees, 15 essays to write, 15 campuses to potentially visit… It’s a big, inefficient headache. All of my friends who wanted to go to college are there, but I certainly know some who got discouraged in the early goings of the decisions, and certainly some like Bartleby’s friend Rory (Maria Thayer), who banked on one Ivy League and was devastated to be turned away. So Accepted has some good points in its ideas. Given the abysmal retention and graduation rates at some colleges and universities, one would think the institutions would try to cater to students, and make it relatively painless to get there, so long as the students were willing to work hard once they WERE there. But exclusivity is the name of the game, and every year, thousands of students are left behind because they fell short of the line that they were told made them “good enough.”

And there’s some merit to the self-education idea. People learn best when they are invested and interested in the subjects they’re studying. Sure, some of S.H.I.T.’s classes might not be exactly perfect, but along the way, most of the students seem to stumble upon a worthwhile venture that they wouldn’t be given the opportunity to explore otherwise.

What’s great about Accepted is that it works on all levels. It works as the silly teen comedy, with Long and Hill leading the way on that front. Expect Justin Long to be getting the young Jim Carrey parts very shortly. The affinity for physical humor that he shows here (a continuation from Dodgeball) should serve him well for a long time. Hill knows his type, and he plays him well, but it’s a type that is at its core a little too mean-spirited, so hopefully his wit and sarcasm will stick with him. When things get a little more seriously near the end – a hearing about the status of S.H.I.T., Long shows a surprising amount of charisma, in a typical inspirational speech that comes off better than I expected because of good writing and Long’s charm.

There’s a couple other characters who will stick in your head for being unique and quirky, but beyond the main two, the rest of the college landscape is littered with clichés and blandness. I’d be interested to see an uncut DVD to see if some of these guys get more interesting stories than you see here. Certainly the focus is on Bartleby and Sherman for the most part, but there’s still plenty of room for some development in the supporting ranks.

First-time director Steve Pink isn’t completely new to the scene – he co-wrote High Fidelty and Grosse Pointe Blank, which certainly isn’t a bad résumé to have. Nothing here really looks spectacular – it’s all pretty standard – but this isn’t the sort of thing I’m looking for innovation in directing. He tells a good story that flows pretty well and distributes laughs pretty much all the way through, which is really all I’m asking for here. Long and Hill easily carry this all the way through, and it’ll be fun to see what else these two deliver, both together and on their own.

Not many people outside of the target high school/college demographic are going to check this out, and it may even lose some of them because of the saturation for the teen comedy in recent years. “Accepted” offers a good balance between the genre-dictated comedy and surprisingly smart and good-natured satire of the higher education system. It’s certainly not going to spark change, but it at least gives those below the line something to which they can relate. I came in looking for something silly and light, and I enjoyed it much more than I figured I would, and I imagine others would as well. Give it a shot.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14958&reviewer=412
originally posted: 09/07/06 22:44:02
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User Comments

7/21/08 Samantha Pruitt pretty funny, Jonah Hill is awesome! This was an interesting idea for a movie. 4 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner This was a funny movie. 4 stars
6/06/08 PAUL SHORTT FEELS LIKE ITS BEEN PEELED OFF THE FLOOR OF A BATHROOM STALL, ITS MOLDY AND COLD 1 stars
3/02/08 SamanthaPayntr super unbelievable, but still super funny, and i love Jonah Hill! 4 stars
2/11/08 donald it was junny but unbelievable. 3 stars
11/24/07 Tiffany Losco Pretty funny. 4 stars
9/30/07 Sardonic Monkey Some fun laughs, but the plot was a little too far-fetched, plus some cardboard characters. 3 stars
7/11/07 Charles Tatum Formulaic, but still a charming little flick with actual laughs 4 stars
7/07/07 AnnieG My son headed to college this year refused to watch it, but I found it cute. 3 stars
3/29/07 zak Good TP. Took me back. 4 stars
12/20/06 Horny Bitch OMG! I was ready to fuck after I saw it 5 stars
11/30/06 Drew Galletti Not as bad as I expected... actually pretty funny 3 stars
11/23/06 Zaw Very funny flick. I couldn't believe I waited this long to see this one! 5 stars
9/12/06 Michael Coovert Loved it!! Light-hearted but with a real, meaningful message!! 5 stars
9/09/06 michael good story 2 see funny too 5 stars
9/08/06 Tiffany It was really funny 4 stars
9/03/06 Ryan Darc i thought this movie kicked ass... one of the better movies ive seen in awhile 5 stars
8/28/06 Adam Halarious! The perfect movie to see when you hve some spare times 5 stars
8/23/06 nick this movie was so funny 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Aug-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 14-Nov-2006

UK
  06-Oct-2006

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Steve Pink

Written by
  Mark Perez
  Adam Cooper
  Bill Collage

Cast
  Justin Long
  Lewis Black
  Anthony Heald
  Jonah Hill
  Blake Lively
  Maria Thayer



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