Jay is an expert on Bigfoot. Or thinks he is. He has evidence of the creature. Or thinks he does. The anthrolopology professor is rejected for tenure, minutes after Steve Kim was approved. His response is to toilet paper someone's house. I won't say who, but it's funny.
Charlie is reasonably happy with his life, wishing he could do better; Grey is apparently not a prestigious school despite its gorgeous architecture. His sister Margaret, however, is always harassing him about his lack of concern for their father William, a retired Princeton professor in assisted living. There is nothing obviously wrong with William and he hates where he is. He is still intelligent and demanding, and apparently not happy with his son's lack of career success. Charlie neither visits enough nor helps with the cost, though you have to believe with his current career Margaret is expecting too much of him. William does enjoy calling in to fund-raisers for PBS stations, not intending to contribute but just wanting someone to talk to. Charlie tries doing the same thing and meets Beth, who is likable and cute. Yes, something similar to a romance does develop between them. I'll let you find out just what. It's both weird and funny.
Charlie finds his efforts to get approved for tenure will be more difficult than he thought. His female department head (not attractive) dislikes him for reasons that aren't quite clear. Elaine is a cute new professor hired from Yale. She is likable and gets published in prestigious journals. She's not great in the classroom, which is encouraging for Charlie. However, Charlie does want to help her and in the process we see potential for a romance to develop. Meanwhile, since Elaine volunteered to be faculty advisor to the poetry club after Charlie turned down Stan's request to do so, Charlie and Stan start a second poetry club, allowing more "adult" material. Jay, not one to follow rules, tries to sabotage Elaine's efforts to succeed.
Jay gets Charlie to come along to a presentation where the enthusiastic Dave wants them to sell a product which cannot be named on broadcast TV. This looks like a pyramid scheme. When I saw the movie, part of the sign for the presentation was blurry, and every time the product name was mentioned it was bleeped. Let's just say it helps men who are having trouble with women. Later, this product is the subject of a hilarious scene in ... I'd better let you find out.
One more problem for Charlie: Robin likes him--I mean, really likes him--and wants a relationship which would clearly be inappropriate.
So, will Charlie get tenure? Will he find romance with one of the women? Will William ever be happy? Will Jay find Bigfoot?
Luke Wilson does a very good job here. He makes us like him and we want him to succeed in all areas of his life. That seems to be the main point of the movie and the main reason to enjoy it.
I know David Koechner from several roles, but mainly as the likable loser on "Superior Donuts". Here, he is a loser, but I wouldn't say likable. I suppose we want him to succeed but almost know for certain he never will.
Gretchen Mol is adorable and intelligent, and while her character's failure would be good for Charlie, she just makes Elaine too nice and pleasant for us to really want that. Seeing her and Wilson together is one of the best things about the movie.
Sasha Alexander is nothing but unpleasant. That's it. Margaret has no redeeming qualities except she's a looker. That's how Jay described Elaine, but I didn't see it myself.
Bob Gunton does a good job (though there are no challenges connected with his character's apparent problems) and I found myself wanting the film to focus more on him and the relationship between William and Charlie. I didn't care if the movie wasn't always funny.
William Bogert as the dean is sort of the absent-minded professor and makes us sort of like him, though not always.
The actors playing three of the students also made us like them. Even Ben, sort of the class clown, who doesn't have nearly enough lines.
Some of the music is classical and nice to listen to. But I particularly liked the "a capella" sound that was so much a part of the background music of the TV series "Glee" and a big part of the "Pitch Perfect" movies. This style was played at the movie's start.
Is this family friendly? I think that has already been established. Also, I have reason to suspect the F-word was used a lot. Cleaned up for TV, it's not really too bad.
I enjoyed this, though I have seen better.