Runningtime: 1hr 33min
Genre: Comedy / with positive message
I'm obviously too old to really appreciate Accepted. The only people who could really appreciate this movie are college students who haven't had to get a real job and start paying for things on their own. Its message of do what you want, not what the world wants you to do, falls apart when you stop to think that the only reason any of these people are able to do what they want is because someone else is paying to allow them to do that. Wow, I've certainly grown conservative in my old age, haven't I?
Justin Long, the junior member of the Vince Vaughn/Will Ferrell led Frat Pack, stars as Bartleby Gaines, a high-school senior who's slacked his way through life so far and is subsequently rejected from every college to which he applies. Since his parents are so gung-ho for him to go to college, he goes ahead and invents the South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.). At first it's just an acceptance letter and a website, but when his parents want to drop him off on his first day, he's forced, with the help of his friends, to use the $10,000 that his parents have given him for tuition, to lease an old building, clean it up, make it look like a college, and hire a Dean (Lewis Black). Of course, if he'd put even a quarter of that effort into getting into college, he probably could have been accepted into Harvard.
At first all seems good, he and his friends laze around the empty "college" building, but their peace is disrupted when hundreds of students show up claiming to have been accepted into the school. It seems that Bartleby's friend, who designed the site, actually made it functional. Rather than turning the new students away, Bartleby accepts their checks and decides to run the school. He builds the curriculum around whatever the students want to learn, which ends up being Slacking, Skateboarding and Bikini Watching. It's like a 21st Century version of the Freedom School from the movie Billy Jack.
The bad guys in the movie are, of course, the Frat Boys at the real college next door. You know, the idiots who will eventually go on to do something with their lives. Naturally, they're portrayed as arrogant assholes, because, if you believe Hollywood, every Frat Boy is an ass and every Sorority Girl is a slut.
Now, don't get me wrong, if you want to do your own thing in life, that's great. Go and do your own thing. However, these kids are doing their own thing with their parent's money and it's always easier to do your own thing when someone else is footing the bill. And, on top of that, Bartleby, the movie's hero, is doing his own thing by defrauding every student who attends S.H.I.T..
I can you hear you saying, dude, it's only a movie! Why worry about the philosophy behind it? Normally I wouldn't. I'd leave that for my brother Eric and his paranoid conspiracy theories. But the truth is, the movie isn't funny enough for me to ignore the message behind it. Granted, there are a few funny bits tucked in here and there, but never really more than a chuckle.
The cast is okay. Long, in his first starring role, is likable and talented, but he needs to pick better material.
Anyone still laboring under the misapprehension that the world owes them something, will probably enjoy this movie. Anyone living in the real world, probably will not.
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