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Stealing Harvard (2002)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Crime | 13 September 2002 (USA)
2:26 | Trailer

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A middle-class man turns to a life of crime in order to finance his niece's first year at Harvard University.


Bruce McCulloch


Martin Hynes (story), Peter Tolan (story) | 1 more credit »
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Lee ... John Plummer
Tom Green ... Walter P. 'Duff' Duffy
Leslie Mann ... Elaine Warner
Megan Mullally ... Patty Plummer
Dennis Farina ... Mr. Warner
Tammy Blanchard ... Noreen Plummer
Richard Jenkins ... Honorable Emmett Cook
Chris Penn ... David Loach
John C. McGinley ... Detective Charles
Seymour Cassel ... Uncle Jack
Zeus Zeus ... Rex
Ken Magee Ken Magee ... Butcher
Martin Starr ... Liquor Store Clerk
Mary Gillis Mary Gillis ... Duff's Mom
Bruce McCulloch ... Fidio the Lawyer


A man turns to a life of crime to pay for his niece's tuition for her first year at a prestigious university. His girlfriend also wants him to pay $30,000 for the down payment on a house; and his buddy is a bad influence on him. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Their intentions were honorable. Their methods were criminal. See more »


Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and drug references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

13 September 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Say Uncle See more »

Filming Locations:

Los Angeles, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$6,041,521, 15 September 2002, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$13,973,532, 20 October 2002
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Leslie Mann cries during sex. See more »


Duff tells Elaine that Gruyère cheese is from Gruyères in Switzerland, and she corrects him by saying that it's French, but Duff is right. See more »


Duff: Maybe we can use slingshots to rob the place.
John: A slingshot is not a real weapon, Duff.
Duff: Oh, yeah? Well maybe you'd like to define the word "weapon' for me while this plastic doll smashes into your temple at 180 miles per hour.
See more »

Crazy Credits

There's several minutes of outtakes after all the credits. See more »


References S.W.A.T. (1975) See more »


Long On Love
Written by Marc Ferrari, Tommy Thayer and Michael Mulholland
Performed by Medicine Wheel
Courtesy of MasterSource
See more »

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User Reviews

Mostly funny, sometimes crude
30 October 2007 | by vchimpanzeeSee all my reviews

John Plummer is engaged to Elaine, who makes baskets for special occasions. John works for Elaine's father at Homespital, a medical supply company. John and Elaine finally have saved $30,000, enough money to buy a house.

But there is a problem. Years ago, John made a promise to his niece Noreen, whose mother Patty is considered "trailer trash" (the term is used in the movie), and whose father is unknown. Noreen was eliminated early in a spelling bee, and John told her she wasn't dumb. In fact, he said he would pay for Noreen's college education. And the promise is preserved on videotape.

Surprise! Noreen has been accepted to Harvard. And she is getting financial aid and she has saved money from her job handling cattle carcasses. So she only needs ... guess how much? John can't tell Elaine they can't buy a house. And her father doesn't respect him as it is. So John turns to his friend Duff, a landscaper who still lives with his mother. John has some ideas, but they generally involve breaking the law. For example, Duff's Uncle Jack runs a liquor store and has lots of money collected from selling lottery tickets, guarded by a clerk who supposedly offers no threat from anyone wanting to steal it.

And David Loach was a former classmate and a loser, but he seems to have money to lend, and a bunch of goons to make sure he is repaid. Where does he get his money? Well, you'll find out ONE way ...

And Duff's client who won't lock his safe (what was his landscaper doing INSIDE the house?) and who misses his late wife. This is good for some of the raunchiest but also funniest gags in the whole movie.

I think a lot of people will consider Tom Green and John McGinley to be the standout performers in this movie. I don't like either of them, but they both do quite a good job. So does Dennis Farina.

Elaine is not a pleasant character for the most part, but when she gets excited, she's really quirky. Plus she's pretty. John is normal, and I wouldn't have even recognized Jason Lee without the mustache he had in a flashback. He's just mostly there, and not that much like Earl Hickey. Earl is a loser who had to turn to crime when he didn't have a job, and ... wait a minute. But, wait, see, John Plummer has a job, and he doesn't NEED to commit crimes.

The important thing is that Green and Lee are often hilarious together, a couple of bumbling idiots.

"Will and Grace" fans need not watch for Megan Mullally, because Patty is nothing like Karen. They might still like her and the movie for other reasons. Actually, I can think of one big reason ...

There is one tender scene related to the fact that Patty and John lost their parents when John was 18. The movie opens with scenes from that time in John's life, and the funeral scene makes more sense after the scene with the two of them later.

Martin Starr is really funny as the liquor store clerk who was more savvy than our heroes may have expected.

It could have been better, but I was mostly happy. Where this is funny, it's really funny. And you must be able to handle crude humor.

One more thing: I usually stay around until the credits end because I often like to see what songs were used. In this movie, you absolutely must watch until the very end for the outtakes. Some of them are hilarious.

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