Accepted

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Accepted
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In "Accepted", Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) is faced with a significant dilemma - he has been rejected by every college to which he applied and as a result his parents see him as a huge disappointment. You would think that he would be more concerned about the fact that his name is "Bartleby" but surprisingly, it doesn't seem to faze anyone! Nevertheless, Bartleyby marches on and with the help of a few of his friends, they lease an abandoned mental hospital and turn it into a temporary college called the South Harmon Institute of Technology, or as it lovingly becomes known, S.H.I.T.. Bartleby even goes so far as to get one of his smart friends, Sherman (Jonah Hill), to design a South Harmon website, complete with a logo, a course outline and a registration page. Everything seems to be going according to plan and his parents seem somewhat convinced by S.H.I.T. until the first day of school rolls around. A boatload of students who have registered online arrive with their tuition cheques in tow and Bartleby and his cohorts are forced to act quickly. They appoint Sherman's crazy Uncle Ben as the college dean and they then develop a school curriculum where free-thinking and liberal education are encouraged for the student body that consists of ex-strippers, social rejects, stoners, washed up athletes and a dude that looks a helluva lot like Beaker from The Muppet Show.

Life is grand at S.H.I.T.. The course load focuses on such things as drinking, sitting by the pool, skateboarding and anything else that most parents wish their money wasn't paying for their kids to do, but everyone seems to be having a grand old time. That is until their cross-town rival, Harmon College, and their uptight dean become suspicious and decide to investigate this new college. As expected, all hell breaks loose and a dramatic courtroom drama that pits Harmon College and the state accreditation board against S.H.I.T. unfolds. Oh, and somewhere in there, Bartleby must not only fight to preserve his honor but he must also fight to keep the girl of his dreams.

"Accepted" is your typical teenage/college comedy but unfortunately not nearly as funny as such classics as "Animal House", "The Breakfast Club" or "American Pie". That's not to say that it isn't humourous because it does have some laughs. But really, it takes a while for the movie to pick-up steam and once the movie does get going, I found myself smiling a lot more than I was laughing. That's not necessarily a bad thing but I guess what I'm trying to say is that "Accepted" isn't nearly as funny as it wants to be.

I did find myself relatively entertained, however. I found the likeable characters in the movie to be just that - likeable. Sherman and Uncle Ben were pretty much the stars of the movie. The final courtroom showdown, despite being as predictable as morning breath, was still charming and oddly enough, somewhat inspiring.

I suppose the main thing about "Accepted" is you have to be able to suspend reality for about 90 minutes. The premise of the movie is absolutely ridiculous. And you have to be able to ignore the movie's hypocrisy. A movie whose message is to not judge people on how they look or act does just that from the beginning to end - the uptight students of the proper Harmon College who look like they comb their respective hair with a brick and ridicule another student because he's fat and doesn't fit in; the dean of the college who looks like he hasn't cracked a smile since Confederation and does his shirt up so tight it looks like his head is going to explode; the dumb, blonde strippers with huge implants. Now, I don't know what strippers look like but from what I hear from friends, they are not all dumb and blonde. It just seems the whole movie is based on the social stereotypes that it wants us to ignore.

Nevertheless, if you are in the mood for a smile, if you're in the mood for a laugh here and a chuckle there, "Accepted" is the movie for you. It doesn't rank up there with the great college comedies of all-time but it has its moments. I must have been in just the right mood because I left the theatre with a smile on my face and that's not such a bad thing in the grand scheme of life.

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