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Overall Rating
3.6

Awesome32.89%
Worth A Look: 32.21%
Average: 9.4%
Pretty Bad: 13.42%
Total Crap: 12.08%

7 reviews, 107 user ratings


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Old School
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by Erik Childress

"You Don’t Want To Kick It Here Old School."
2 stars

There’s no reason to walk out of a film like Old School angry. After all, it advertises itself as nothing more than a stupid comedy with stupid people doing stupid things. It also promises boobs. That makes it a feature-length beer commercial which in many ways sets itself up as a throwback to the “slob” comedies of yesteryear like Animal House and Caddyshack. Hey, I’m all for that. The recent spate of teenage gross-out sex comedies (Van Wilder, Sorority Boys) have been affronts to everything that was once funny about food fights and Baby Ruths in the pool. So, who better than comic masters like Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn to show them how its done? Old School is testament that even the greatest improvisers in the world should be avoiding directors such as Todd Phillips like the clap.

What Phillips does with this film deserves the old school justice of a good lynching. With his previous outing, Road Trip, scoring a modest return, Dreamworks felt confident enough to give this guy some more money to essentially make the same movie. Top billing in Old School goes to Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin who comes home one day to find his wife (Juliette Lewis) watching pornos and entertaining gangbang enthusiasts. As one marriage dissolves another begins when buddy Frank (Ferrell) walks down the plank...er...aisle against the inappropriately timed advice by Beanie (Vince Vaughn).

Beanie is a rather hen-pecked husband, but a good father who only needs to say the word “earmuffs” to get his son to cover up before any profanity tirade could cloud the room. The self-made millionaire throws an amazing block party for his disgraced pal, starting a recurring trend of celebrity cameos in the film that screams out for title cards. (“Hey kids, its Snoop Dogg. Applaud!”) After reacquainting his love for beer, Frank “The Tank” gets thrown out on his ass after parading it in a drunken streaking exhibition and a former nerdy classmate is threatening to kick Mitch out of his new house. This all seemingly takes place in just a few days. That’s when Beanie decides to turn Mitch’s house into a fraternity to both adhere to the college zoning restrictions and to perhaps relive those glory years of partying and loose women.

Mail carriers don’t revisit familiar territory like this as often, but for about 35 minutes Old School works on that sophomoric level we walk in expecting mostly thanks to Ferrell’s crazy fearlessness and Vaughn’s quick retorts. How a film such as this can then sink so quickly once the hook of the story takes hold is something beyond film school study. Timing is all off, jokes don’t build and, more importantly, never payoff. I counted three instances where I pre-guessed punchlines that never came. Expecting the obvious is one thing. To not even have the brains to come up with it themselves is a sickness these filmmakers can never be cured of.

Phillips missteps this material in so many ways that it’s a miracle that he was able to secure such a name cast in the first place. How do you take Jeremy Piven, one of the great unsung comic talents of his generation and restrain him into the Dean Wormer/still nerdy former classmate who’s going to payback our heroes? Piven’s been wasted before in good and bad films, but to watch him all bispecled and corduroyed up, humorlessly blackmailing students to fit his grandmaster scheme is the saddest thing I’ve seen since Schindler’s List.

And dare I be the first to say it, but is Luke Wilson a pale shadow of just about every comic straight man through history? With the exception of his collaborations with Wes Anderson and brother Owen, Luke is always playing the quiet, seemingly confused nice guy who is just a boring screen presence. This script even gives him the obligatory former crush girl (Ellen Pompeo, quickly morphing into Renee Zellweger) who may now have an interest in him if it weren’t for her jerk boyfriend (talk show host Craig Kilborn, playing up the part of his persona we all expect is hiding just underneath his TV smarminess.) Wilson’s shtick works when he’s given an unexpected punchline, but that’s not the case here. (A dollar to anyone who can come up with what Wilson should have said to his co-workers after finally telling off his boss.) As is, Wilson is playing straight man to Ferrell and Vaughn, the latter of which ceases to have a funny line in the film’s final hour.

When you walk out of Old School, you may be tempted to find Todd Phillips and tie a cinder block to his genitals and drop it from the Hoover Dam. Phillips and co-writer Scot Armstrong (you don’t get off easy either) miss all the inherent satiric possibilities of fraternities, growing old, accepting responsibilities and even a chance to mock Fight Club. To call Old School uninspired would be an insult to screenwriting coma victims. To call Old School a stupid, slob comedy would scorn those talk show fatties who need a crane to get out of their homes and believe that not eating carbs would be depriving themselves of fish. To call Old School a wasted opportunity with a wasted cast under the helm of a talentless writer/director would…just be letting it off too easy. Ferrell. Vaughn. Piven. How did Phillips manage to do it? I don’t know, except that it makes me so angry that he was given the money to do it.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=7058&reviewer=198
originally posted: 02/21/03 11:35:59
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User Comments

10/01/08 Shaun Wallner I really enjoyed this film. 5 stars
9/04/08 Rachel Earmuffs! Favorite college comedy in awhile and one of Will Ferrell's best! 5 stars
8/31/08 PAUL SHORTT THIN AND OCCASIONALLY TOXIC, CREATING A SORT OF CINEMATIC WASTING 1 stars
1/12/08 Pamela White Will can't act 1 stars
8/15/06 Ashley Hinz Weirdest Ferrell movie to date. 4 stars
6/15/06 Billy Totallty fun 4 stars
6/09/06 Anthony Feor The funniest movie of 2003 5 stars
5/16/06 Sully "you're my boy Blue!!!"......."you look glorious!!!" 5 stars
12/03/05 Indrid Cold The fact that some of it's funny elevates it above average, but nothing to write home about 4 stars
8/16/05 ES Animal house never got me coming back for more= Blue is the man 4 stars
6/01/05 tatum Often funny, but never gets hysterical 3 stars
5/30/05 Phil Extemely funny but suprisingly unknown. Watch out for the dart scene - Ouch! 5 stars
2/06/05 Jeff Anderson It's ANIMAL HOUSE lite, without John Landis' spirited direction & performances. A SHAME!!!! 2 stars
11/27/04 soxfan It's hilarious, a modern Animal House, a new classic 5 stars
9/19/04 Ghetto Smurf Not that funny. 2 stars
9/10/04 jeff i agree with asina, more boobs and booties :) 4 stars
9/09/04 J Funny as hell! 5 stars
9/07/04 BoomerSooner Gets funnier after 20 views 5 stars
9/01/04 A upton I loved the dart scene 4 stars
8/03/04 Kitina Blues for vince vaughn... he's adorable!!!! 5 stars
8/03/04 Anthony G its ok 3 stars
8/01/04 Kathryn Knowlton Farrel and the Crew did it again, very funny 4 stars
7/29/04 JD greatest movie ever...hasn't even gotten old after 100 plus views 5 stars
7/26/04 andrew apodaca crap 1 stars
7/13/04 asina Disappointing. Needs more naked boobs. 3 stars
5/11/04 J.Peckerfoot I also usually despise films of this sort but Ferrel is great as Frank! 5 stars
3/22/04 Goofy Maxwell Some funny antics, some pretty hot chicks, some rocks tied to ****s...OK, I guess~ 3 stars
3/07/04 Zach G. Awful- Call that COMEDY? What's going on?? Abrasive..... A 15 year old sleepover movie. 1 stars
2/16/04 HorrorScribbler Not exactly the second coming of Animal House, but not bad. Weird to see Piven as a Dean. 4 stars
2/12/04 JAY SHEPPARD THIS MOVIE IS BAD ASS 5 stars
1/29/04 Rapunzel Gladstone When it takes months to catch what the title means, it shouldn't take longer to care. 2 stars
1/22/04 none funny 5 stars
1/08/04 A F Ok, why wouldn't you like this film. 5 stars
12/17/03 Brother NIanno only to a retarted toddler would this movie be more than just a shit-fest, it's a bore 2 stars
11/30/03 jmsynth "Were Going Streaking!" Modern Comedy Classic! 5 stars
11/18/03 NWO4LIFE Starts out amusing, then gets duller and duller. 2 stars
10/25/03 Samuel "Yer' my boy Blue!" I loved this movie it had Titties, Beer, and Stiffler with a mullet! 5 stars
10/23/03 Mike Wardick Blue is tha man. You can not die any better than KY wrestling with two naked women. 5 stars
9/25/03 Megan AWESOME MOVIE, SO WORTH IT 5 stars
9/25/03 kyle debell the funniest movie out 5 stars
9/15/03 Todd Klosterman Fuckin awesome 5 stars
8/11/03 The Savage Come on, it's got Snoop Dogg in it. So it's required to kick ass 5 stars
8/11/03 SB Very funny - "Ear muffs" 4 stars
8/01/03 Jon A Laugh a minute 5 stars
8/01/03 TLsmooth "Denver. The Sunshine State. Gorgeous." It doesn't get funnier than that. 5 stars
7/24/03 Wendy funny as hell 5 stars
7/22/03 Angelica this movie is sooooo money! absolutely hilarious! funnier every time u watch it! 5 stars
7/11/03 rick good, but coulda been better 4 stars
7/09/03 Stephen Crawford It's a comedy. Nobody cares if it has no plot, and isn't filmed well. Just shut up, fag. 5 stars
7/03/03 Stiles Hot and cold. Flat plot, but very funny vignettes. Will Farrell was hilarious. 3 stars
6/28/03 Priscilla Postlethwaite For once I agree w/ Scott Weinberg. I like raunchy humor, but this is just raunchy. 2 stars
6/25/03 B Love This site sucks my hairy balls!! Please make it better. 1 stars
6/21/03 Mike B This movie F'n rocked!!! 5 stars
6/21/03 dana one of the funniest movies i've seen in a while....bought the dvd as soon as it came out 5 stars
6/20/03 Jeff Thsi movie is great. You must accept it for what it is. Vince is the man, baby. 5 stars
6/19/03 Susan Hilarious! 5 stars
6/14/03 Heather It's Glorious! 5 stars
6/13/03 Geo78665 The first 15 minutes are decent. Then it becomes uneven. Then boring. 2 stars
6/11/03 FLiK A cure for depression 5 stars
6/11/03 Brannie Herez Brannie, This movie looks sooo bad that i wont even bother to pay for movie tickets. 1 stars
5/31/03 Ryan Macmahon This is one crappy website 2 stars
5/12/03 Shadaan Felfeli worth a few laughs. The wedding singer and Ferrel (doing artistic gymnastics) were funny 2 stars
5/07/03 leroyjones so stupid it was good...vaughn and farrell are hilarious...only frat i like 4 stars
4/24/03 Priscilla Postlethwaite For once I agree w/ Scott Weinberg. I like raunchy humor, but this is just raunchy. 2 stars
4/17/03 Killer Katers This movie was hysterically funny though the plot was severely lacking 4 stars
4/16/03 Andrew Carden Painfully Unfunny "Comedy" With Wasted Farrell and Vaghn In Horrid Roles. 1 stars
3/31/03 Edler 1 huge hilarious mountain of garbage! Complete crap but I loved it! 5 stars
3/25/03 Katie I'm in college, and the main guys in it reminded me of something that my friends would do. 3 stars
3/22/03 James VG This is the kind of movie to see on a Friday night when you need to laugh out loud. 4 stars
3/16/03 sra this film was so disappointing, had lots of potential, but ended up sucking 2 stars
3/14/03 Jin I laughed all the way through. You reviewers need to lighten up or just get some. 5 stars
3/13/03 YOUR MY BOY BLUE!!! - your my boy thou shalt not sayest thine ''is crap'' - will ferrell is god. i suggest you recognize. 5 stars
3/13/03 Roy Smith This is what the "C+" grade was invented for. 3 stars
3/10/03 Hugh Like Something About Mary in that it has a few scenes that will have you just dying. 5 stars
3/09/03 keith wow scott weinberg is has no sense of humor or has a huge dildo in his ass! 5 stars
3/09/03 the white rabbit the van sequence was brilliant. laughed so hard i almost pissed myself 5 stars
3/09/03 Josh Big laughs. Will Ferrell is going to be one of the funniest people in movies. 4 stars
3/07/03 Fish Eye Not as funny as expected, but definitely worth seeing for Ferrell 4 stars
3/07/03 Joe This crap is what the studios think they can pass off a funny, well it's not 1 stars
3/05/03 james fucking funny 5 stars
3/05/03 Dana Carvey must DIE!!! Come on, if you think this is "awesome" you're either dumb or on the studio payroll. 2 stars
3/04/03 Matt An Animal House for the MTV generation, f**king hilarious 5 stars
3/02/03 John Similar to Animal house, except without good acting, humor, and plot. Otherwise, same movie 1 stars
3/01/03 Bob Jones It was great 5 stars
2/27/03 Mark Lianza A funny film that was based on Animal house deserves credit for its non-stop laughter. 5 stars
2/26/03 Elisha Cuthbert's A-hole Stare at me in my pink underwear 5 stars
2/26/03 nick2k the pacing was all wrong, too much of a romantic film, and need more frat hijinks. sorry... 2 stars
2/26/03 GMan tits and ass, man... hot, droopy, pock-marked man ass... 3 stars
2/26/03 Andrew Carden Someone Needs To Just Kill Will Ferrell. 1 stars
2/26/03 Cookie By no means Oscar material and by no means razzie material. A funny, wacky film! 4 stars
2/26/03 ArdRhi What happened to "sucks all ass?" 1 stars
2/25/03 Wha? Don't expect much and you wont be dissappointed 4 stars
2/24/03 joe good 5 stars
2/24/03 FrayLo It's funny...but not laugh every 5 seconds funny. 4 stars
2/24/03 mara z. funny movie. some cheezy silliness, but still really funny 4 stars
2/24/03 Mr. Burns First 2/3 Great. Last 1/3 Okay. Take the boys with you to see it. 4 stars
2/24/03 Peter Bunzl Great comedy! 5 stars
2/23/03 Yo Mama! Aw c'mon. It wasn't that bad. Good laughs. Good cast. Good Movie! 4 stars
2/23/03 Bombadil Constant laughs, not the greatest movie, but good for the guys out there 4 stars
2/23/03 Vicious Pretty funny, Will Farrel is the highlight. 4 stars
2/23/03 Saddam My camel died after being exposed to this wretched film 1 stars
2/23/03 davebo same old same old, not terribly funny 2 stars
2/22/03 Mark Mills I laughed and laughed, never too much at once but plenty all over. 5 stars
2/21/03 Mortis So Fuckin' HILARIOUS! I saw it for free, I will pay to see it again. 5 stars
2/20/03 Ayatolla of Rockinrolla Will Farrell was great, Vince Vaughn was very good, Luke Wilson was also in it. 4 stars
2/18/03 steve this movie is fuckin hilarious! funniest movie I've seen in a real long time 5 stars
2/17/03 los angeles matt awesome, if you are in college you will love this move, and if not you'll still laugh a lot 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  21-Feb-2003 (R)
  DVD: 10-Jun-2003

UK
  N/A

Australia
  29-May-2003




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