Admission (2013) (PG-13)
This review contains SPOILERS!
I can just imagine the script for "Admission" landing on Tina Fey's desk. Not that she works at an office, I just like the imagery of a script landing on a desk...I think that I'm entitled to that. I can also picture Tina Fey leafing through the pages—when she comes to the point where her character has to coach a cow through labor, deliver the calf, get placenta all over her, and take a naked shower with Paul Rudd...what is her reaction?
It must have struck her as funny, because the normally brilliant Tina Fey signed on for a really horrid movie.
To be fair, "Admission" is a film that is trying to say something deeper—what is that something? Well, the film didn't exactly figure that out before pumping out another less than mediocre comedy. "Admission" is mostly about family, parenting, Princeton, and the undeserving process of admissions.
When you think about it, the film is really harsh on Princeton. Talented and smart kids are denied access one after the other because they don't fit into Princeton's mold. This could be the film's actual point—be yourself....like we haven't had one of those movies before.
Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is an admissions official. She gets to decides who gets in and, more importantly, who stays out. She enjoys her job, sort of. Semi-OCD and completely prone to emotional breakdowns, Portia is not looking for commitment or children. This is interesting because she has a very long term boyfriend, Mark (Michael Sheen).
Portia's mother, Susannah (Lily Tomlin), is a radical feminist and a very do-it-yourself type of woman. She raised Portia as a single mother—a fact that she is very proud of.
The first plot twist we come across is a phone call from John Pressman (Paul Rudd) to Portia. He has just started a new school called Quest and he wants Portia to come check it out when she goes recruiting.
Keep in mind that Princeton fell from the top school, to number two (make any poo jokes you wish).
Portia's boss, Clarence (Wallace Shawn) is not happy about the drop and he demands a better year—he wants to go out strong for his retirement.
So Portia goes out to Quest only to find a group of individuals who don't buy into the notion of an elitist school. The students mock Portia, she gets flustered, and she tells them all that they won't make a difference in the world if they don't go to Princeton—that's a great first impression.
There's really only one student at Quest who wishes to go to Princeton, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff). This boy is an unknown prodigy and a vital character to the plot.
Eventually, after several clunky romantic scenes, Portia realizes that the rugged, good-looking John has more sex appeal than Mark.
There's one moment in the movie in which acting like a dog becomes a "comedic" reference for Portia's love life. Let's just say, it's a little cold in the bedroom—too much poetry, I guess.
So John is sexier than Mark, does this mean that any woman of Portia's intelligence would find herself making out with him in the car on the first day she met him? I think not! This guy could be a creep!
Oh, but Paul Rudd never plays a creep........I have no words.
By all accounts Portia seems like a crazy person—at one point she tries to take another lady's baby in the middle of the store and she hallucinates while reviewing applications. She imagines the kids in her office, begging for a place in Princeton—not normal behavior.
The film's humor comes from repetition. They try to make a Sorkin-type script by saying the same thing over and over really quickly—it's not funny, it's just offensive.
I think where the film really suffers is that Fey did not write the material she's delivering.
But then, the big bomb is dropped—Jeremiah is Portia' son.
Portia is thrown into a maternal world suddenly—and she copes with it really quickly. Now she wants nothing to do but to be motherly and comforting...she stalks Jeremiah in a party and makes sure that he has a toothbrush....what?
Turns out, Jeremiah doesn't have a toothbrush; and after the horribly awkward scene of buying said dental cleaning device, Portia returns Jeremiah to the dorm where he's staying and then vomits.
Mark leaves her, which opens the way for Portia and John to be together—wow, no one saw that coming!
In the end, "Admission" is a horribly insipid tale of parenting.
John has trouble with his adopted son, Nelson. I guess when you desire for your kid to be the best and mock him in front of his friends, it doesn't make the kid love you—who knew?
This movie's price of admission (pun most definitely intended) should only be as a reference for how not to interact with any human being ever!
One amateurish scene is lined up after the other and they barrel into each other with no care for how it might the audience.
It's a task to watch the movie—the only thing "Admission" has going for it is the charm of its leading actors.
Tina Fey in a bad role is still Tina Fey...I can't help but love her regardless.
Lily Tomlin is the only actor who is of any note in "Admission". She makes something out of a nothing role.
The movie makes the viewer uncomfortable. It thrives on the type of humor that makes me squirm for the main character's lack of grace.
I think I would have been more comfortable standing on a nail for two hours instead of watching "Admission".
Score: 1 out of 4
Posted by Micah Jones