Film Review: Admission




   Admission is a very funny film. Not, I hasten to add, "funny" in the laugh out loud sense, but rather it is an incredibly bizarre and peculiar picture. Again, I make note that this is not "bizarre and peculiar" in the inventive way a Werner Herzog film is, for example, but more in an odd manner which makes the viewer feel uneasy in an uncanny fashion - Paul Weitz's movie is superficially like the type of Rom Com we've all seen (and grown nauseous over) a thousand times before, yet there is a degree of unease which the film inspires by its own incompetence which almost feels supernatural.

   Admission stars whom I can only assume to be impostors of Tina Fey and Paul Rudd - usually two of the most likable and handsome stars in Hollywood, the script reduces it's avatars to empty shell like ghosts who appear dead behind the eyes, perhaps drained of their humanity by a comedy in which the biggest joke is the delivery of a calf in an elongated, stone cold serious sequence. Imagine Vera Drake with pratfalls.

   The central premise is this - Fey stars as an admissions officer at Princeton. It's her job to make or break the dreams of applicants every year. Paul Rudd, conversely, is an idealistic teacher at a school which seems to be more of an farm/orphanage hybrid - he conspires to send one of his more eccentric students to the acclaimed college. Although it is true that the boy Rudd selects has an ostensibly poor record in education for the most part, a genius spirit still shines though and Rudd, at this point, enlists Fey's help by fundamentally blackmailing her (in a way which can't be described without plunging headfirst into spoilers). Oh, and if you want to make a guess about the romance element of the film, I will remind you that on some very broad stroke level Fey and Rudd (you may have realised by now that I haven't bothered to look up their character's names), are very different people. Almost opposites in fact...

   What's unusual, and perhaps the biggest, seemingly most impossible achievement of this film, is how each of the people involved seem to lack the fundamental assets associated with human character... yet also, despite this sterile blandness, also manage to be insufferably smug. Beginning as an impersonation of a ham-fisted comedy, replete of the jokes, Admission unspools itself throughout with a serious of dramatic, forced snakes of direction which take the film down bleak new paths and it often feels like we've gotten lost in a place which looks familiar but feels indescribably unnerving. 

   William Goldman once stated a good idea for screenwriters was to give the audience what they wanted but not in the way they expected it - Admission subverts this by giving the audience what they could not have possible wished for a manner they wouldn't have desired either. It's a lame film - perhaps the worst of Weitz's career and certainly one of this year's biggest stinkers too. 
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