Pin It

Not Accepted 

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd do their best, but can’t buoy Admission

click to enlarge The ultimate power couple.
  • The ultimate power couple.

Tina Fey fans probably won’t be disappointed in this lightweight film, even though Fey plays it more bland than funny, as is called for her character. But fans of the novel it’s based on are going to have some problems, in that so many of the story’s elements have been changed beyond recognition.

The basic plot is about Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) having some difficulties concerning Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), a bright but quirky high schooler who’s applying there. There’s also John Pressman (Paul Rudd), who runs the developmental high school that Jeremiah goes to. And for any feminists out there, don’t worry: Portia’s mom, Susannah (Lily Tomlin), has some screen time. Book and film are similar on those points.

But even though this still remains a study of parent-child relationships, book-to-film changes in plot development, message and eventual outcome are likely going to outrage certain readers.

Too bad that’s not the only problem. The film stands on its own, but it doesn’t stand very tall. Both Fey and Rudd really underplay their roles. Rudd is usually good at this kind of thing, letting a mischievous glance reveal what he’s planning to do, or putting on a blank expression that lets you feel his character’s exasperation. But this time he comes across as a shy dullard, a guy who wants to do the right thing — help get this kid into college — but doesn’t know where to begin. Fey appears to be the victim of a director who’s told her to hold back until it’s time to unleash her inner self, which she does a couple of times in what amounts to nothing more than an emotional catfight with a coworker. You want to feel for these two nice, caring people, but it’s difficult when they’re so uninteresting.

On the positive side, there’s Tomlin, who lights up the screen as the feisty Susannah, an independent spirit who was no doubt up in the front lines when the women’s movement got its start and has never backed off. One of the film’s best — and most meaningful — sight gags is the tattoo of Bella Abzug on her shoulder. (Those of you too young to get it should Google her.)

Director Paul Weitz is a little too loose with the film’s moods, as they change from way up to way down too quickly. But neither he nor scriptwriter Karen Croner can be blamed for the hard-to-take, not-very-believable ending. That problem rests solidly with novelist Jean Hanff Korelitz and the way she ended the book. Why couldn’t the filmmakers have changed that? 


  • Pin It

Latest in Film


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Silence of the Lambs Comedy Cut

Silence of the Lambs Comedy Cut @ Bing Crosby Theater

Wed., April 1, 7:30 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks


More by Ed Symkus

  • Lock it Up
  • Lock it Up

    Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart's buddy comedy Get Hard is too soft
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • Robot Rock
  • Robot Rock

    Tired of aliens, Neill Blomkamp tries his hand with robots in Chappie
    • Mar 4, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Road Goes On Forever

    Widespread Panic's never-ending tour stops in Spokane for the first time since 1999
    • Mar 11, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
Music & Film




Indie Rock


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation