Old School
2 out of 5 stars
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E
all the fun of university Leave it to Ivan Reitman (Animal House) to bring back the campus comedy. He produced this film about three 30-something friends--Mitch, Frank and Beanie (Wilson, Ferrell and Vaughn)--who start a fraternity to recapture their college party days. The plot comes in the form of their continual clashes with the nerd (Piven) they tormented all those years ago; he's now dean of the local university and determined to shut them down. Meanwhile, the guys have their own relationship issues: Mitch is trying to develop a romance with his high school sweetheart (Pompeo), who now has a slimy boyfriend (Kilborn); Frank is chafing at the bit after marrying the lovely Marissa (Reeves); Beanie is trying to balance the revelry with his wife (Remini), children and sound-system business (which is handy for all those parties!).

This isn't exactly brainy comedy, but at least the script touches lightly on some real issues (growing up, friendship, relationships) as it races to the next low-brow set-piece. Fortunately, there is a level of genuine humour here that keeps us laughing between the stupid stuff. It also helps that the cast is very watchable, with distinct characters that don't rely on stereotypes: Wilson is the nice guy who goes along with whatever happens; Ferrell is the good-time boy who embarrassingly takes everything way too far; and Vaughn is the fast-talker who always has a plan and an answer for every crisis. The romantic storylines as well as the big conflict with Piven's power-mad geek are all rather weak, but there's plenty of other stuff to get us chuckling, as well as several relatively witty cameos. Director-cowriter Phillips (Road Trip) never quite gets the Big Laugh, but the film's still much better than it has any right to be.

cert 15 themes, vulgarity, nudity, language 12.Mar.03

dir Todd Phillips
scr Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong
with Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Ellen Pompeo, Craig Kilborn, Perrey Reeves, Elisha Cuthbert, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini, Patrick Cranshaw, Harve Presnell Seann William Scott, Snoop Dogg, Andy Dick, James Carville
release US 21.Feb.03; UK 9.May.03
03/US 1h30

Party on! Mitch (Wilson) takes on an anonymous coed in lube-wrestling, while Frank (Ferrell) officiates...

wilson ferrell vaughn
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2003 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall