06 February 2014

Review: Admission (Movie)

Admission (film)Sometimes a romantic comedy is just the right kind of movie to take your mind off of everyday life. I don't expect too much from a rom-com: good acting, a few laughs, and a decent (though usually predictable) plot.

Last month, I gave Admission (directed by Paul Weitz; Focus Features) a try based on the great cast and the fact that movie is loosely based on the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I figured any movie starring Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Lily Tomlin, and Wallace Shawn would provide a good evening's entertainment.

The basic premise, which you get from the trailer (embedded below), goes like this: Portia (Fey) is an admissions officer for Princeton University who is vying for the position of director. She is tough as nails and only reluctantly responds to a call from an old college friend, John (Rudd), to interview an exceptional student, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff). When she begins to suspect that the boy may be her own child (given up for adoption seventeen years earlier), Portia starts questioning the entire college admission process. Oh, and she wonders if there's room for John in her life.

Although the acting in Admission was fun to watch, especially Tomlin as Fey's mother, the movie didn't really come together for me. Perhaps it was the ridiculousness of the pressure to get in to Princeton, or the idea that any other school would be considered second class, or the notion that there is no such thing as flexibility when it comes to giving a student a chance. I admit that the snooty factor was a big turn-off for me. Maybe the movie would resonate with younger viewers (those born after, say, 1963), but this baby boomer was not impressed with the whole Princeton or bust attitude (even as the subject of satire).

The other problem I had with Admission was Portia's journey. Without giving away spoilers, I didn't buy her behavior in relation to Jeremiah. In addition, her interactions with John didn't have the spark I like to see in a good romantic comedy. On the other hand, I think Fey and Rudd would make a good match in a film with a better script.

In the end, Admission didn't sweep me up and carry me away. If I had to rate the movie, I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars for the acting. So, although Admission isn't the worse choice one could make, I can't wholeheartedly recommend it.


bermudaonion 2/6/14, 7:48 AM  

As the mother of a recent college graduate, I can tell you the college admission process is fierce these days. We stayed out of it when Vance was applying but MANY of his friends' parents did not. Some of them actually filled out applications for their kids! Anyway, I got the whole Princeton or bust attitude so I enjoyed the movie more than you did.

rhapsodyinbooks 2/6/14, 8:34 AM  

Totally agree with you on your reaction to this movie!

(Diane) bookchickdi 2/6/14, 8:41 AM  

I saw this on a plane and I thought the same thing that you did. I liked the acting- Lily Tomlinson, Tina Fey especially-but would have liked a better story.

Daryl 2/6/14, 9:26 AM  

i am not a romcom lover so i passed on this when toonman suggested it .. i see i was right, thanks

Meg @ write meg! 2/6/14, 9:33 AM  

We actually rented this one a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, but I agree that Fey and Rudd lacked the chemistry needed for a romantic comedy to really work. I thought the whole adoption plot line was a little weird, too, though I like Jeremiah's character! Kind of a mindless way to spend an evening, which isn't always a bad thing... but I'd hoped it would be better.

Amy 2/6/14, 10:14 AM  

aw, I actually really enjoyed this one. I can't remember exactly why, but I think there was something that resonated with me at some point during the movie. Objectively speaking, though, I don't think it was a great film or anything, I just personally enjoyed it.

Kailana 2/6/14, 1:25 PM  

I do enjoy Tina Fey, but I haven't loved everything she has done... That's for sure! I have never even heard of this movie before. haha

Anonymous,  2/6/14, 5:40 PM  

I really enjoyed this book, but the trailer seemed so different than how I imagined things while reading that I wasn't interested in seeing it.

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