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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 brianorndorf

"Moldy gay panic from 2005"
1 stars

“Freshman Orientation” is a comedy about college life, but you’ve seen this campus of clichés before. It’s populated with colorful characters, but their personalities are a flavorless collection of blunt punchlines. Finally, “Freshman” is a gay-themed farce from a first-time director who’s in way over his head trying to challenge sexual stereotypes, embrace the same stereotypes, and make a spunky, crude teen comedy all in the same breath.

Clay Adams (Sam Huntington, “Superman Returns”) is a loudmouth off to his first year of college to nail as many girls as he can. Once arrived, he meets roommate Matt (Mike Erwin) and the two take off on their campus sexual adventure. Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday, “Accepted”) is a sorority pledge who is forced to seduce a gay man as part of her initiation. Spying Clay, she assumes he’s the type of guy she’s been looking for. Clay instantly falls in love with Amanda and doesn’t bother to correct her, pushing him to explore the gay campus life and live a lie.

Writer/director Ryan Shiraki certainly adds some youthful exuberance to his debut feature film, but it’s all wasted on a tremendously misguided and exhaustively dim screenplay. Pieced together with road kill comedic situations scraped off the formula freeway, “Freshman” hopes to be something of a laugh daredevil: playing to gay audiences with a parade of sexual appetites caricatures, yet almost cruelly directed at straight audiences with a final message that hetero love is the real name of the game here.

Shiraki’s film isn’t mean-spirited in the least, just dreary and teeming with situational comedy that’s either painfully lame or just painful. Shiraki’s enthusiasm seems to cloud his judgment: how else would one explain the sequence where Clay, at a lesbian poetry slam, starts to pass off “Baby, One More Time” as his own brainstorm, which then transforms into a brief musical number? That scene alone sums up the experience well as one of passé pop culture riffing and brainless invention, demonstrating that the filmmaker might enjoy sniffing the colors, but has little clue how to cinematically paint.

There is some solace to be found in Huntington’s abrasive performance; the poor actor overcompensating so much to keep the film afloat, it’s curious to see how loud and punctuated he becomes with each new scene. Trust me, he gets earsplitting during the film’s most desperate times. Marla Sokoloff is also fun as Clay’s frustrated foe. Playing against type, she drinks up the opportunity to rage a little as a feisty lesbian who’s sickened by Clay’s action. It’s a shame she’s soon tackled by the screenplay’s inanity, breathlessly trying to underline the character’s sexual stance.

Making a cartoon out of personal choices, Shiraki soon wants us to feel for these characters in the final reel, with Matt’s revelations of desire and Clay’s plea for the truth to be revealed. It’s a very silly notion to stage a broad farce only to bend it back into a creation hoping to touch souls. It defeats the purpose of any good comedy, but that’s where “Freshman Orientation” tricked me: it’s not actually any good or much of a comedy.

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originally posted: 08/31/07 20:02:04
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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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