Old School

on February 21, 2003 by Tim Cogshell
Mitch (Luke Wilson) comes home to find is girlfriend, Heidi (Juliette Lewis), not only with another man, but also another woman and a few people she met on the internet. It's kind of a relationship ender, but jeez it's funny. A bit later, Mitch and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) attend the wedding of their best friend Frank (Will Ferrell of TV's "Saturday Night Live"), formerly known as The Tank, to a lovely woman. After she kicks him out--which was inevitable for a person nicknamed "The Tank"--they all start a fraternity for fairly (and very) old guys who aren't even in college. Just getting to this point in the movie is so hysterically funny that if one were to be forced to leave the theatre and see no more they would have received the full value of the purchase price of their ticket, even if it's not a matinee. That's how funny "Old School" actually is. Then it gets even funnier.

In an "Animal House"-style twist, Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven), who happens to be a former college mate of the boys and does not remember them kindly, tries to get them kicked out of their frat house. This isn't that funny, but there's so much funny stuff all over the movie that you don't care about this not-so-funny bit. Sure, there's a narrative that involves a girl from high school Mitch had a crush on once, and there's a lot of stuff involving the guys getting the better of Dean Pritchard, but none of that matters and also isn't really funny. What's funny are the myriad bits and gags and show-stoppers like hip-hop maestro Snoop Dog busting a rhyme at the requisite keg party. What's funny is Will Ferrell--who's challenging Jack Black for the mantle of funniest man in the movies--shooting himself in the neck with a tranquilizer dart. What's funny is Vince Vaughn saying just about anything. What's funny is a 90-year-old man in a tub of KY Jelly with two topless co-eds. That's funny and creepy. All of this and much more is what's funny about this completely derivative but expertly timed comedy. It hits fast, gets you down and does not let you up until well into the end credits, which are also damn funny. Starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Ellen Pompeo, Juliette Lewis, Leah Remini and Jeremy Piven. Directed by Todd Phillips. Written by Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong. Produced by Daniel Goldberg, Todd Phillips and Joe Medjuck. A DreamWorks release. Comedy. Rated R for some strong sexual content, nudity and language. Running time: 90 min

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