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‘Admission’ just misses the honor roll

By Utieyin Etchie

The opening of director Paul Weitz’s latest movie “Admission” is aptly timed considering that this college-track process is on the mind of most high school seniors and their parents. Although the film appears to downplay the application process and what it takes to get into college, it incorporates an interesting perspective to life as an admissions officer and what it takes to make that ultimate decision, making you wonder how accurate of a portrayal it is.

The film stars comedian Tina Fey, who is best known for her role on “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” Paul Rudd from “Knocked Up” and “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and Nat Wolff, a former member of the Naked Brothers Band.

Fey takes on a new role as Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer to various high schools for prospective students. During one of her visits she meets John Pressman (Rudd) an old classmate from Dartmouth College who is an overseer at an alternative school in which she visits. John manages to convince Portia that student Jeremiah Balakian (Wolff) is the son she gave up for adoption back in college.  Portia takes professional risks in the life she always thought she wanted as she begins to bend the rules for Jeremiah, in turn creating a new life for herself.

This movie is plot twist upon plot twist as everyone’s life begins to unravel and dives for the worst. But don’t you fret, all the problems are resolved and the loose ends are tied.

Considering the cast of this movie, it had a lot of potential to either be a great comedy or a great satire but the script never goes deeply enough into either genre to register. There are many good funny and satirical moments that make the director’s intentions clear, but they all seem to be scratching the surface.

The lack of direction and commitment to a specific genre does not deter for the audience’s enjoyment of the film. The theater was still responsive to the characters’ actions. They laughed with the characters, were shocked at all the right parts, and felt their pain throughout.

The appeal of this movie comes from Fey and Rudd together. Fey brings in her comedic skill and her awkwardness to captivate the audience’s attention. Rudd contributes his own awkward behavior along with his charisma and compassion. After John has invested so much in his student’s futures, especially Jeremiah’s, and his adopted son Nelson’s future, the audience cannot help but fall in love with him and his dedication. The movie is so easy to enjoy for this reason. Their ease and confidence in their roles and with each other makes the film.

The movie is well worth the money if you walk in unsuspecting and knowing nothing about the movie. It is easier to see it in its full glory and it’s easier to disregard the lack of depth in the script.

As cute as the movie is and as much as I personally enjoyed it, my advice to you is to save your money by wait listing “Admission” and catching it on DVD.

Photo courtesy of Focus Features

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