I have an Admission to make, in addition to horrific puns (which may be less painful than actually going to see Admission), my review will mock, taunt, and otherwise ridicule this movie. Dear Tina Fey: If you’re reading this, please know that I loved you in 30 Rock and I’m still making you a friendship bracelet for that glorious day when we become besties. That said, this movie is like taking a shotgun spray of limp spaghetti to the face (it’s not going to kill you but you’re not really going to enjoy it, either). So put your big girl panties on and let’s smack this bitch up.
Admission is loosely, verrrrrrry loosely, based upon the novel of the same name. The film follows the utterly boring and mind-numbingly dull life of Portia Nathan, a Princeton Admissions rep, as she tours the country pimping out ivy-league porn to wide-eyed overachievers just itching to rub one out, academically, in the hallowed halls of… (Gasp! You guessed it!) Princeton, come Fall. Insert obligatory tension, awkward humor, dramatic foils, a required dose of “romance” and wait for the magic to happen… Still waiting? So am I.
The best thing I can say about this movie is that it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. After watching the trailers I was neutral, after reading some advance critiques I was less-than-enthused, and the nail in the coffin of my anticipation came after I read the book. Walking into the theater, equipped with an especially low bar by which to judge this film, I was pleasantly, if blandly, surprised. The cast for this film was great. And by that I mean the actors they cast, not the characters they portrayed. I was predisposed to like this movie on the actors alone. Tina Fey is a comedic wet dream, Paul Rudd could shit charm and affable sex appeal in his sleep and I’d throw my thong at Lily Tomlin any day because that woman is a fucking rock star. And yet, the best thing about Admission is that, given what the cast was tasked to work with, they turned out a passably benign if overly tedious Rom/Com that I highly doubt will make the trip into your long-term memory.
The age-old cliché in real estate is that it’s all about location, location, location. If Admission were a property it would be funny-adjacent, witty-adjacent, drama-adjacent, and engaging-adjacent; it misses the mark more often than men who take a piss in the middle of the night without the lights on. I got more of an emotional payoff from watching a Geico commercial while writing this review. Ultimately the movie was a flat, routine, by-the-book (pun alert!) exercise in banality covered with a thin layer of wry humor.
Admission tried to bullshit its way through an hour and a half on charm alone but was eventually reduced to a sloppy, tonally confused, highly questionable mess of moral quandaries. In other words: Shit got real y’all. Real fucked up. This awkward dramedy was alternatively lighthearted and quippy in-between bouts of tension and drama (which worked out about as well as a marriage seminar run by the Gosselin’s).
But I digress. The combination of genres was far from the grace of a Vulcan mind-meld and more in the vein of a rejected organ transplant.
The chemistry between Portia and John is tepid at best and during the height of their “passion” Fey and Rudd resemble sedated hamsters nibbling on a water bottle more than anything else. Their interactions are off-kilter and range from the extremes of insipidly sweet to uncomfortably bitter; they’re predictably charming and entirely, watchably, inoffensive. These characters are the poster children for “opposites attract” (uptight workaholic meets philanthropic hippie-with-a-heart-of-gold) though both are feeble stereotypes and are thrown together purely because the genre demands it of them. If I wanted to watch puppets have sex with each other, I’d give Team America: World Police a try.
Admission was amusingly benign in the most tedious way. Not unlike an adorable puppy you run over with your truck, back up, and hit again. If it’s possible, this movie underwhelmed me so hard I think I might walk funny for the rest of the week.
Take a Drink: whenever Jeremiah takes “awkward” dangerously close to “Rain Man” levels.
Take a Sip: each time Portia’s mother, Susannah, opens her mouth and “militant douchebag” falls out.
Do a Shot: every time Portia rolls out the same tired-ass dog and pony show on her admissions tours.
Take a Drink: whenever Portia gets treated and/or talks about being treated like a dog.
Do a Shot: anytime Portia gets a life-changing shit-bomb dropped on her ass.
Take a Drink: every time Mark and Helen “randomly” run into Portia. Bonus Shot: if she’s doing something incredibly embarrassing at the time.
Shotgun a Beer: to erase the memory of Paul Rudd elbow-deep in cow.