A typical Midwestern 18 year-old freshman at a large state university, eager to delve into the college party life, discovers instead that school is not the beer-driven, sexual fantasy of his imagination. Determined to do anything to obtain the girl of his dreams (a gorgeous but reluctant sorority girl), he decides to adopt a gay identity in order to insinuate himself in her life. This casual charade, however, quickly lands him in a morass of campus activism, gender warfare, fraternity hazes, sorority torture, "coming out" narratives, political martyrdom, and ultimately a university-wide meltdown. Written by
A fair-to-middling low-budget comedy, "Freshman Orientation" has some good-natured fun lampooning the stereotypes and clichés of college life. Kewpie-faced Clay Adams is an undergrad frat pledge who pretends to be gay in order to snag the girl of his dreams. Just how this paradoxical turn-of-events comes about need not be reiterated here. Suffice it to say that it involves fraternity and sorority initiation pranks that wind up at cross purposes with one another.
Suffering from its own case of identity confusion, director Ryan Shiraki's screenplay reinforces stereotypes even as it's working hard to beat those stereotypes down. Gays, in particular, may find themselves evenly divided between encouragement and dismay over how they are portrayed in this film.
Still, there are enough moments of loopy charm to make the film worth seeing on a slow, rainy afternoon, and Sam Huntington and Kaitlin Doubleday have appeal and charisma to spare as Clay and his girl. And, as an added bonus, they are joined by John Goodman and Rachel Dratch in minor supporting roles.
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