Shaun Brumder is a local surfer kid from Orange County who dreams of going to Stanford to become a writer and to get away from his disfunctional family household. Except Shaun runs into one complication after another starting when his application is rejected after his dim-witted guidance counselor sends the wrong application. So, Shaun goes to great lengths with a little help from his girlfriend Ashley and his drugged-out loser brother Lance to get into Stanford any way they see fit.Written by
Natasha Melnick, Mike White, Sarah Hagen, Lizzy Caplan, and Leslie Mann all featured in the cult television show Freaks and Geeks (1999). See more »
When Ashley confronts Tanya about not helping Shaun get in to Stanford Ashley's left hand is placed on her hip. In the next shot, her left arm is down at her side and she now has her right hand on her hip. See more »
This flick confirmed many lingering suspicions, and none too pleasant: 1) Jack Black is a great comedic character actor who can easily be strangled by a poor script (he's at his best when he can bounce off of comedy writers like David Cross and Bob Odenkirk); 2)anything produced by MTV pictures is destined to suck; 3) an all-star cast (John Lithgow, Kevin Kline, Catherine O'Hara, Harold Ramis, Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin) should be a signal that the material can't stand on its own.
What else can we expect from a parent company whose idea of "music television" is softcore porn (_Undressed_) and _the Real World_ in a Winnebago (_Road Rules_)?
This is one of those rare cases where if you've seen the commercials you haven't seen the movie. You know how ads nowadays tend to give away all of the jokes? Not this one. And for two reasons: 1) there are very few jokes, and 2) most scenes in the ads aren't even in the movie ("I'm this guy...I'm not getting into your college...," "You have to make love to the camera, like 'Hey Stanford, what's up? You want some of this? You know you do'," etc. -- not in the movie!)
The ad campaign makes you think that this is a comedic romp about a kid trying to get into college, and the slacker brother who helps along the way. The two could have been a great team, Colin Hanks as the straight man, Jack Black as the character he is. But this was not a comedy. This was heart-warming pablum masquerading as entertainment.
Everything comes together in the end in the most predictable of ways. Everyone learns a valuable lesson, the sick are healed, the heavens part, and the soundtrack is on sale at your local record store. And that's what really matters, now isn't it? I won't give anything away though, because the plot will reveal itself immediately.
You need to know this, though: the movie was written by Mike White. At first you might think, "_Chuck and Buck_...critical praise...independent film." But he also wrote _Dawson's Creek_ and the film _Dead Man on Campus_. And it shows.
And as bizarre as this is, the song "Butterfly" by Crazy Town, was featured three times with no explanation. First you have a scene break and suddenly there are these "teen movie" cheerleaders doing a choreographed dance to the song, all looking into the camera like a music video as if to say, "I want you now, 15 year old in the audience. I was put into this movie to distract you from this films many faults."
Later, Colin's girlfriend is singing the song to herself with her headphones on, in a scene that was only put in the movie to introduce a dog (following the formulaic nature of the film, the producers must have said, "people loved the dog in _There's Something About Mary_... we need a crazy dog too").
And lastly Colin meets a new girl who invites him to the obligatory college party. Suddenly "Butterfly" begins to play and she and her friends go nuts screaming, "it's our song!" They proceed to do the same choreographed dance as the cheerleaders, looking seductively into the camera. And you watch this and ask yourself why? What does this have to do with the movie? It's clearly an attempt to sell this song as the lead single of the film.
I'm thinking of writing Jack Black to get my $6 back. He got $2 million for this pile of garbage. He can afford it.
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