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Review: 'Old School' fails the test

Not even worth the old college try

By Paul Clinton
CNN Reviewer

Old School
Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson and Vince Vaughn in "Old School."

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• EW.com: Review: 'Old School' external link

(CNN) -- "Old School" gets old -- real fast.

In this attempt at a comedy, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn play a trio of 30-something buddies who have the worst cases of arrested development in the history of Western civilization. The idiotic premise of this film has these three supposedly adult men trying to recapture the irrepressible fun of their college years by starting their own off-campus fraternity.

If you're not already running to the nearest cineplex, consider this: There are two -- not just one -- two nude scenes featuring Ferrell, and as a bonus, a third scene with him wearing only a pair of tight white briefs. Now that's entertainment.

Ferrell's character, Frank, has just gotten married but can't even spell "commitment." Vaughn's character, Beanie, is a wannabe hustler with a wife, kids, and a store called Speaker City. Wilson's character, the mild-mannered Mitch, has just discovered his live-in girlfriend, played by Juliette Lewis in a mercifully small part, is into group sex when he's out of town on business.

Suddenly out on the street, Mitch decides to rent a house near a local college campus. The second buddy-boy Beanie sees the house, he hatches a plan to turn the place into a fraternity, thereby insuring that Mitch will meet lots of single girls. The solution to all their problems seems to be diving back into adolescence, complete with a beer blast (featuring an improbable performance by Snoop Doggy Dogg) and plenty of underage coeds.

A hodgepodge of a muddle of a mess

Ferrell
Will Ferrell enjoys a drink in "Old School."

Once the boys get set up in their den of iniquity, they recruit a pledge class full of boozers and losers, including a 90-year-old man, a couple of complete nerds, a grossly overweight black guy, and whoever else that Central Casting sent over that day.

Obviously, comedy is suppose to arise out of this situation. This isn't a movie, it's a high-concept oil slick.

"Old School" is brought to us by the same "creative" team which gave us that other ode to diminished brain cells, "Road Trip." Director/producer/screenwriter Todd Phillips and his co-writer, Scot Armstrong, have once again lowered the threshhold for entertainment.

In addition, proving that you can't go home again, this limp noodle of a movie is executive produced by Ivan Reitman, who produced "National Lampoon's Animal House" back in 1978.

Also in the cast is Jeremy Piven as Gordon Pritchard, the dean of the university. Somehow in this muddled mess, the fraternity has been sanctioned by the school, and now Pritchard has to figure out a way to get rid of them. Some of the most ludicrous scenes in this ludicrous film take place with the "boys" trying to qualify to stay on campus.

Other cameo appearances include a very scary Andy Dick as a character you don't even want to know about, and Craig Kilborn playing a obnoxious jerk -- proving, once again, that typecasting still works.

"Old School" doesn't even deserve to go to video and DVD. This film should go straight to landfill.


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