Hilarious! Old School begins with 30 year old, Mitch, (Luke Wilson)
a rather bland real estate lawyer who returns home from a conference
to quite a surprise from his live-in girlfriend (a cameo by Juliette
Lewis). Depressed from his girlfriend’s indiscretions, Mitch gets
wildly drunk at the wedding of his best friend, Frank played by
the always funny Will Ferrell. There Mitch meets a former grade
school crush who is now a divorcee with a young girl. After a quite
embarrassing wedding toast, Mitch decides he needs a change in his
life and moves into a small brick house on the edge of the city
college campus. Mitch and Frank’s fellow best friend Beanie (Vince
Vaughn), the owner of an electronics store chain, leads them into
a party fest to relive the days of youth and to relieve the burdens
of adulthood. When the college principal Pritchard (Jeremy Pivens),
a former geek who was routinely bullied by the three has the house
re-zoned for college uses only, Beanie decides to form a fraternity
to maintain the house. The fraternity includes a 90-year old man,
a few middle-aged accountants, high school dropouts and an enormously
fat college student. This mix of individuals creates strong material
for entertaining jokes. The pledging sequence is especially uproarious.
Eventually, Pritchard establishes the upper hand by receiving an
order forcing the fraternity to shut down and the house is condemned.
The climax of the movie rests in the fraternity proving their worthiness
through a series of tests in order to stay a school sanctioned organization.
Will Ferrell has the most material to work with in a movie since
Night at the Roxbury and he utilizes every bit of it. Vince Vaughn’s
dry humor as the repressed family man adds a needed darkness to
get the movie underway. Luke Wilson guides the movie as the sensitive
guy who enjoys a period of partying but ultimately desires the adornments
of mature adults.
Unfortunately, some of the best jokes in the movie have been revealed
in the movie trailers. Fortunately, there are plenty of other jokes
that carry throughout the movie. However, Old School could have
made better use of its premise. There were a few times when a scene
could have been pushed further to take advantage of its comedic
moment. Old School (I believe) purposely takes a softer edge on
its plot. Instead of pushing the envelope it tends to water down
the moment to move onto the next scene setup. This softening creates
an enjoyable fun ride in the theater but doesn’t carry it into the
next realm of acerbic wit that allows a movie to become a comedy
classic. Despite its flaws, Old School will have “New School” audiences
cracking up in the aisles. Grade: B.