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Overall Rating

Awesome: 28.95%
Worth A Look42.11%
Average: 2.63%
Pretty Bad: 0%
Total Crap: 26.32%

3 reviews, 20 user ratings

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Freshman Orientation
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by Erik Childress

"A Clever Title Makes For A Pretty Fun Flick"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2004 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Sometimes people get the wrong idea of film critics. We get accused of being stuffy, elitist and not in touch with the public’s fast food consumption of garbage like Bad Boys II. This is absolutely a falsehood and I’m here to dispel the stigma. For example, just the other day the FCUSA got together in our monthly meeting. One of the topics on the roundtable was wondering when we were finally going to get a good solid “boy pretends to be gay (or a woman) to win the girl of his dreams” movies. We were all hoping that Sorority Boys was going to be the answer to He’s My Girl from years past, but it just didn’t live up to our bloated expectations for the sub-genre. I was honored and privileged to say that I saw a film at Sundance that actually captured the fun of pretending to be gay to win a sorority sister.

Needless to say my suggestion was met with cries of condescension and several tomatoes, but I swore to them that if they actually took a chance of Home of Phobia, maybe a good half of them would actually have a good time. Very few were sold on the idea but let me try to get through to you.

Sam Huntington (who will always garner a place in my scrapbook of comedy for his Chris Klein parody in Not Another Teen Movie) stars as Clay Adams (whether or not the film was made before the rise of American Idol's "is-he-or-isn't-he" Clay Aiken could not be confirmed.) He was certainly a player in high school and has come to college looking to continue his role as the new studboy on campus. Clay finds that the salad bar isn’t nearly open all night to Freshmen like him and his attempts to join a fraternity is filled with the kind of juvenile humiliation we hear about and expect from the fratboy crowd. Thankfully this time around though, there are some decent laughs mixed in, depending of course if you can get behind the audacity of an egg-yolk passing assembly line. Use your worst imagination.

Also new to campus trying to find her way into a sorority house at the insistence of her mother is Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday). Sororities are far more quaint in their hazing rituals (and sexy depending again on your imagination) and one of the new fish requirements is to participate in a dogfight. Simply put, each of them must find a particular type on campus (i.e. mentally challenged, paraplegic), convince them they’re in love and then dump their sorry behinds at the big party. Amanda’s assignment is to find a homosexual and Clay is the answer to her prayers when a particularly embarrassing fraternity prank gives her the idea that he “is a gay.” Clay is only too happy to play along.

This may sound pretty crude and politically incorrect and that’s precisely one of the reasons I liked it so much. Stereotypes are on display and most aren’t there with sugar on top. When Amanda’s Jewish sorority sister, Jessica (a scene-stealing Heather Matarazzo) draws the Muslim card, she stands outside a Mosque trying to turn their heads (“...hey evildoer.”) There’s something darkly funny about the big sorority party as well when you see a guy in a wheelchair chasing around his date.

Sam Huntington sells most of the humor just by playing it with a straight face even when it gets goofy. He’s a solid comic actor that I want to see get more work. Kaitlin Doubleday’s portrayal of the dreamgirl is also one to observe since she finds a way to both seem like a hot, potentially bitchy sorority girl and someone who is friendly enough to see through the B.S. of her situation. This character would normally be all bitchy or all friendly at first, therefore Doubleday and writer/director Ryan Shiraki make her more real. Nice comic turns are provided by John Goodman extending (and accentuating) his Normal, Ohio character as the owner of a gay bar that helps Clay in his transformation. Gay flash cards, say no more. And SNL’s Rachel Dratch gets laughs almost just by showing up as an older college student who is appropriately labeled in the credits as “very drunk chick.”

Home of Phobia is fun and that’s really all you need to know about it. Shiraki infuses his debut feature with the occasionally political subtext. The gay support group is ready to turn militant on anything resembling a “hate crime” in a minute. A subplot involving Clay’s roommate (Mike Erwin) never really materializes out of the “here’s a little tolerance for you” realm and the time could have been better spent with Clay’s brief ex-flame (Marla Sokoloff) who is now trying on lesbian as an identity. All in all, I’m sure the participants of the Film Critics of the United States of America weren’t convinced that I’d found the film we were all looking for, but I doubt half of them would be able to turn it off if they saw it on cable one night. The non-stuffy, non-elitist half, that is.

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originally posted: 01/27/04 07:13:45
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User Comments

8/11/07 troy i knew loronzo and he never went to film school couldn't even afford a meal when i knew hi 1 stars
7/21/07 justin i thnk loronzo should llearn to type decent english befor he ventures into movies 1 stars
6/24/07 justin i think this movie has a great meaning i dunno what have a great meaning is but it's good 3 stars
4/27/06 Exlymonda Britten I was in this movie as an extra, how do i buy this movie? 5 stars
3/05/06 Tracey Johnson Laughed really hard, can't wait for others to see! 5 stars
5/30/05 Exlymonda Britten I was an extra in this movie.When will it come out? 5 stars
10/23/04 Rena I LOVED IT! 5 stars
7/20/04 Breeder Basher Heterosexuals: Go Straight to hell! 1 stars
6/20/04 Michelle Miller I really like show espically the Jungle 2 Jungle you look hot in it. 5 stars
4/29/04 Mark Thought it would be stupid teen sex romp and laughed the whole way though. 5 stars
4/01/04 Loronzo Nickleson i think that this movie is very funny and have a great meaning... waiting 4 boxoffice Rels 5 stars
3/26/04 mia mitchell hillarious, had me glued to the screen 5 stars
3/02/04 Stacy I liked it a ton. made me laugh. 4 stars
2/06/04 Lauren Walker I LOVED it. Saw the film at Sundance and found it hilarious. 4 stars
2/03/04 Tom Ingersoll a stupid homophobic mess designed to give homophobe fratboys like Childress a hard-on 1 stars
2/03/04 Jennifer Chang Very, very, very funny. Equally smart. 5 stars
1/31/04 Christina Hart Really a romp. I laughted out loud several times. 4 stars
1/30/04 lisa agree! funny film 5 stars
1/30/04 Lane Ray Incredible. Funny. Oddly touching. 4 stars
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  31-Aug-2007 (R)
  DVD: 19-Aug-2008



Directed by
  Ryan Shiraki

Written by
  Ryan Shiraki

  Sam Huntington
  Marla Sokoloff
  Heather Matarazzo

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