Oh to be a young, inebriated undergrad. Wild parties, easy women, cheap beer, and seemingly no responsibility-what's not to love about college? If you were to ask the trio of thirysomethings in Old School, they would quickly confirm that life was better in their days of university yore. So what's a nearly middle-aged guy to do when the trials of marriage and job get him down? Move back on campus of courseand start his own fraternity.
Trading on the antics of Animal House, Old School plums the depths of collegiate debauchery with, more often than not, little success. When easygoing lawyer Mitch (Luke Wilson) walks in on his long-term girlfriend having an orgy (with people she met on the Internet, no less) he rightfully sinks into a depression. Hoping to lift their best friend's spirits, crass enterpeneur Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell) encourage Mitch to turn his recently-rented bachelor pad into a frat house. Situated on the outskirts of the local college, Harrison University, Mitch begrudgingly agrees and soon the three old friends are running the wildest house on campus.
From the all-night kegger where Mitch ends up bedding his boss' high school daughter and Frank winds up streaking through town (after funneling numerous beers), to the onslaught of hazing rituals (which range from KY-Jelly wrestling to a stunt involving yarn, a cinderblock and the boys' exposed genitalia), the old guys quickly earn a reputation on campus. Of course with their newfound "street cred," as Beanie calls it, comes the ire of the slimy dean (Jeremy Piven). With the administration breathing down their backs and the adults in their life questioning their slightly immature behavior, all seems lost for the boys. Can they win back the women they love and keep from getting their young friends expelled? Well, wouldn't you know it, the crew's fate boils down to an on-campus Olympiad where the brothers must compete in a series of events (demonstrating their mastery of school spirit, athleticism, and academia) a la Billy Madison.
Between Vince Vaughn's tired Swingers routine and Will Ferrell's manic and idiotic SNL antics, Old School doesn't offer much in the way of unexpected gags. Some of the hazing rituals are laughable (the sinister-looking black van the boys use to initially pick up, and nearly run over, their pledges is particularly enjoyable), but the gags never reach the height of Animal House proportions. With much of the screen time donated to Ferrell's uncomfortable nude scenes (the actor ends up in the buff on countless occasions-with and without the help of alcohol), you have to wonder how long the comedian can depend on his pokey figure for laughs. Apparently a hairy back and a gut are fodder for endless yuks. Luckily, for those who miss the Ferrell strip tease here, they can catch it just about any Saturday on SNL.
Where's Flounder and Bluto when you need them?
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