Rated R - Running Time: 1:30 - Released 2/21/03
With Will Ferrells departure last season from Saturday Night Live, I guess well be seeing even more of him on the big screenthe question is, is that a good thing? I regard Ferrell as one of the most talented, versatile, and just plain funny performers ever to be on SNL, but that doesnt mean his movies will be anything special if he doesnt start showing some more discretion when choosing his scripts. Most of Ferrells previous outings, like Zoolander, The Ladies Man, and Superstar, have been marginally-funny-at-best comedies which featured him as a supporting player (with the exception of his co-starring role in the abysmal A Night At The Roxbury), and thats what hes doing here, playing the fool with pals Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn. Together they make up a trio of middle-aged friends who, when they cant make their serious lives work (i.e., marriage, family, career, commitment), resort to starting their own fraternity so they can re-live those fun, carefree, and alcohol-soaked days of college.
Frank (Ferrell) knows hes in trouble at his wedding when
his bitter, married groomsman Beanie (Vaughn) keeps
telling him, Shes coming up the aislethis is
your last chance to get out. Although Frank is devoted to
his bride Marissa (Perrey Reeves), her agreement to marry him
is based on his promise to lay off the alcohol, his previous abuse
of which earned him the college nickname Frank The Tank.
Meanwhile, his best man Mitch (Wilson) is perfectly happy with
his live-in girlfriend (Juliette Lewis) until he discovers that
she not only has sex outside their relationship, but hosts regular
gangbangs at their home while hes at work. Disillusioned,
he moves out and into a house owned by a recently deceased professor
from the local institution of higher learning, Harrison University.
This results in a full-blown housewarming party thrown by Beanie,
which results in Franks falling off the wagon, which results
in Marissa kicking him out.
But their totally awesome keg party draws over 100 people,
including Mitchs old school friend and former crush Nicole
(Ellen Pompeo), who is now a single mom engaged to a first-class
jerk played by Craig Kilborn, and even features a special live
appearance by Snoop Dogg. Unfortunately, it also attracts the
attention of Harrisons geeky dean (Jeremy Piven), the guys
grudge-holding ex-classmate/prank victim, who immediately has
the house re-zoned for college use only. Though he thinks this
will force Mitch and friends to move out, they decide to form
a college fraternity, so they can be in compliance with the new
regulation while engaging in numerous ill-advised shenanigans
with a pack of fun-loving, masochistic freshmen. Meanwhile, Mitch
keeps trying to convince Nicole that hes not doing what
hes doing, he hasnt done what hes done, and
he isnt what he is.
Written by Court Crandall, Todd Phillips, and Scot Armstrong, and directed by Phillips, Old School is the trashiest of trashy frat-boy flicksa kind of low-rent, 20-years-later version of Animal Housebut the presence of Ferrell keeps it from being a total waste. Its one of those films where the scenes you see on the TV commercials (almost all of them featuring Ferrell) are the funniest scenes in the film, so when they come up, you know its time to laugh even though youve already seen the bit a million times. Wilson and Vaughn are obviously just going through the motions; they have bills to pay and this is how you do it. Still, there is enough of Ferrells antics to make you laugh out loud at least a couple of times, so if thats enough to make you spend 8 bucks now instead of waiting two months to rent the DVD, knock yourself out. **