Verdict: 3 / 5
Does the process of admissions into University sound like something that will drive you to the cinema? Probably not, but you might find more than you thought you’d get if you give it a chance.
Tina Fey plays Portia, a straitlaced admissions officer for Princeton University. After a recruitment drive at an off-beat high school run by John (Paul Rudd) things start to unravel. She is introduced to a highly gifted yet socially strange student Jeremiah who desperately wants to attend Princeton. Jeremiah may also be her son whom she gave up for adoption after she got pregnant in college but her maternal instincts start to intrude into her life and into her decision making process which she begins to totally re-evaluate.
Admittedly, University Admission is not the most engaging subject matter, but having popped the dvd into my player without the foggiest clue as to what the film was about, I had no problem with enrolling for the journey.
The film does have two very likeable leads that are perhaps playing far more understated performances than we have normally come to expect from them – and for the most part, it works. There is also a great group of supporting characters from Portia’s crazy mother to her former flame, wonderfully played by Michael Sheen. Sheen’s character is actually one of the highlights of the entire film for me, mainly because he is primary involved in one of my favourite running gags I have seen in ages. After he admits to cheating on Portia and announcing that he is leaving for another very forceful woman, he constantly seems to run into Portia who is always in tears. He constantly thinks that it’s because she just can’t get over the break up and it really provided the biggest laugh in the whole film for me.
The movie does have several little plot strands that some might argue are a tad convoluted, but I actually found them to be great hooks that kept me watching right through to the end. The film certainly did have a high level of engagement which is more than can be said for most throwaway romantic comedies these days.
Thanks to this film I have also discovered a new band – look out for a song called ‘Shine Right Through’ by Correatown which comes at a fairly poignant part of the movie.
All in all, this is a run-in-the-mill romantic comedy that has perhaps a little more heart and honesty than the average entry into the genre. I won’t recommend that you rush out and buy it immediately, but if you haven’t much else to do, pop it in the player and enjoy the fuzzy feeling you’re bound to get.