Written by / 3/24/2013 / No comments / , , , , , , , ,

ADMISSION

year: 2013 cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Wallace Shawn rating: **1/2
A “Quirky Comedy” will usually have either one of two types of characters: a normal person thrown into a bizarre situation or an oddball in a conventional, mundane routine who, because of their unpredictable nature, provides the quirkiness therein. ADMISSION would fit in the latter category, with a protagonist so neurotic you might wonder how she got her stuffy job – an admissions officer at Princeton University – in the first place.

Tina Fey’s Portia Nathan is so frustrated and frantic… stuck in a dead-end relationship with a boring professor… she’s subconsciously dying for a love interest to spark up her life. Enter Paul Rudd, who, as super nice guy John Pressman, runs an alternative school where they milk cows and meet in a barn for more practical life applications.

Turns out John isn’t the important guy on board, at least not as the plot’s concerned. He has a gifted yet troubled student named Jeremiah (a mellowed version of GOOD WILL HUNTING) , who loves philosophy and is more deserving than anyone else up for the coveted (and very limited) spot at Princeton.

Well that’s Portia’s opinion; especially after learning Jeremiah’s her estranged son. Sticking her neck out to make his dream come true, much of the film centers on Portia awkwardly shadowing Jeremiah, on and off campus, while constantly reevaluating her priorities. And after a while you’ll forget all about Rudd, more of an angel on her shoulder than significant other despite a predictable roll in the hay.

Creative elements, like spoken-of characters appearing who aren’t really there – especially during the final admissions process where Portia strategically tries getting Jeremiah in the door – add to the indie flavor of a film misleadingly promoted as a romantic comedy.

Of the side cast, Paul Rudd's relationship with his adopted black child is sweet but ultimately pointless, while Lily Tomlin, as Portia’s stubborn mother, who, like Glenn Close in THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP, years earlier wrote a book on feminism and found a random “sperm donor” to create her child, tries hard to steal scenes, but Tina Fey does a good enough job carrying a simple story that, for better or worse, she owns entirely.
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