Movie Review: College
By Matthew Huntley
September 8, 2008
College is lowbrow manifested - a disgusting, discouraging and sad excuse for a comedy. Not that I would mind the disgusting parts (toilet overflowing with feces, used condoms being picked out of couch cushions, beer running down a hairy man's butt crack and into another man's mouth), if only they made me laugh. I sat there shuttering and shaking my head instead. Director Deb Hagan and writers Dan Callahan and Adam Ellison seem to know very little about the real high school or college experiences, and the essence of comedy is pointing out the flaws associated with real-life. So, without any credibility or humor, what does College leave us with?
As I search my brain, I can't find an answer. This is a movie that's not even slightly entertaining. It's a rehash of smarter, funnier comedies that also take place within the high school/college milieu. What the makers of College have done is taken the extreme hijinks of Animal House and American Pie and overstuffed them into their own movie, only they take them a lot further. But what they see as wild, riotous and pushing the envelope, I saw as amateurish and stupid.
The plot finds three high school friends - Kevin (Drake Bell), Carter (Andrew Caldwell) and Morris (Kevin Covias) - taking a road trip to a nearby college for the weekend. Kevin and Morris were originally going to take a tour and interview with the dean, but since Kevin's girlfriend dumped him for being too boring, he wants to prove he can drink and get crazy with the best of them. Carter, who's a combined rip-off of "Bluto" Blutarsky and Stifler, is there to get drunk, get laid and party hard. The boys are eventually taken in by a frat house full of jerks who only want to exploit and ridicule them, which is where all the disgusting scenes come in.
The biggest mistake College makes is it assumes the audience doesn't want to see intelligent or truthful comedy (or even funny comedy, for that matter), that the only thing high school and college students (the intended audience here) crave are people their own age getting drunk, acting stupid and being mean to each other. Obviously, this movie doesn't know real young people very well.
Its other crucial misstep is how it's chock full of reprehensible people, to some degree even the main characters. The frat guys are the worst, and even though I know they're supposed to be the "villains," I didn't find them interesting or funny. Kevin and Morris eventually come around and win our hearts, I guess, but they're nothing special. And Carter is just flat-out obnoxious. Not that Blutarsky and Stifler were people you'd want to hang out with very long, but at least they had a certain charm. Carter's voice alone is like nails on a chalkboard.
It made me cringe to think the filmmakers thought any of this was amusing. I know they weren't trying to make high art, but there's nothing about this movie I could appreciate as entertainment. It's gross for the sake of being gross. Plus, it's overkill. I never believed these high school students or anyone would subject themselves to this kind of abuse. I've never joined a fraternity, but isn't the behavior depicted here kind of absurd?
One thing I liked about College was the design of the opening credit sequence. The clever way in which names appear on high school and college supplies made me think the filmmakers actually knew a thing or two about these experiences. But they didn't, nor did they take the fantasy/romantic elements of the characters' situations to comical heights. The whole movie is like somebody asking you to look at something disgusting but not having a good reason why.