Old School review by Matt Fuerst


The traditional process of making a movie, as far as I understand it, goes something like this. A writer has a subject matter that is personal to their heart, and through time and hard work they manage to boil down a fuzzy germ of an idea into a concrete story pitch. This may be a paragraph or two that is what the story is about. From there they structure this into a three act narrative that follows the main characters through the trials and tribulations. They need a climax, a protagonist and an antagonist, sometimes a little comic relief and sometimes a sappy scene to make you cry.

I am quite certain none of this formula was followed for Old School, which is a glorious thing. Instead, it seemed to me, that the writers and producers of Old School had a simple idea: grown men in a fraternity. From there they tried to dream up as many ridiculous ideas of what would occur in that situation. Hairy man ass. Strippers. KY Jelly wrestling. Lots and lots of booze, of course. All glorious, wonderful things young men such as myself fully embrace! From this free flow of ideas, the producers managed to throw in some semblance of plot to wrap around the ridiculous, hilarious ideas. It works.

The plot is sketchy at best. Mitch Martin (Luke Wilson) is married (which is just a convenient way to introduce some infidelity humor) to Heidi. Some bad stuff happens and he gets divorced (no need to ruin the surprises). Mitch moves into a house that happens to be right near a college, so his friends Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank (Will Ferrell) throw him a house warming party to celebrate. Enter typical and atypical college house party humor. Other plot lines happen to come up from this point on, but really they are just excuses to introduce funny moments or funny guest stars. Mitch is in love with his high school crush Nicole (Ellen Pompeo) but it really just seems like an excuse to introduce her boyfriend (Craig Kilborn! Kilbie plays a great jackass). The dean of the college threatens to rezone Mitch's house, which is just an excuse to make the fat friend do gymnastics. Trust me.

I realize my plot summary seems frenzy and hectic, but I think that reflects the quality of the plot of the movie. It's just a handy device to introduce funny scenes. And the funny scenes sure are there. Luke Wilson delivers as the nice guy that's drug into a lot of crazy situations. he actually plays it quite similar to his character from Bottle Rocket, fairly normal but surrounded by odd circumstances. Vince Vaughn hates his wife and life but not enough to actually do anything about it. He will flirt with the idea of infidelity, but never take the plunge. Will Ferrell really steals the show though. Frank isn't the main character of the movie, but I guarantee you'll walk out of the theatre with several of his scenes permanently etched into your mind.

Production values are above average. This was a Dreamworks picture so you know their lower budget movies are still pretty well funded. The picture was always clean and clear. No funky, interesting camera tricks were played and the direction was transparent. I actually don't even know without looking up who directed Old School. But I feel for this type of comedy that's the way it should be. This isn't Fight Club or Apocalypse Now. The camera is there as a window into the goings on, not to be an active participant.

Old School is the return to greatness of Porky's and the like from years past. Many people hailed American Pie and it's imitators of a few years ago as a return to that type of movie, but let's face it, American Pie is humor for the younger crowd. Let's face it, even the intended audience of 15, 16 year olds weren't shocked by the happenings of American Pie, they live those things out every day. Old School is definitely for an older audience. I strongly recommend you make a trip to your local multiplex and get ready for some belly laughs.

9 out of 10 Jackasses
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