Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin
Directed by: Paul Weitz
Written by: Karen Croner
Rating: PG-13 (US) Running Time: 1 hr 47 min
You see, it’s called Admission, as in, admission into college, admission into a romance, admission to motherhood, admission into someone’s life or heart. Get it? It says so on the film’s poster too. Let someone in.
I’m assuming the writer Karen Croner thought you wouldn’t understand, so she wrote characters that might as well have worn t-shirts with bold print declaring their character traits. Portia Nathan’s (Tiny Fey) would say “unadventurous and awkward, has parental issues” and John Pressman’s (Paul Rudd) would say “adventurous people person that hates commitment, has parental issues.”
Which would actually be somewhat forgivable if the story then moved on with each character’s arc and a clear plot. But Admission sets up and tries to follow too many story lines, and our characters end this journey pretty much wearing the same t-shirts they started it in.
It’s shame too because Paul Rudd and Tina Fey are incredibly likeable stars, but to my surprise I didn’t feel any chemistry between them. Perhaps because Paul Rudd seemed to be mailing in his trademark quirky yet occasionally direct nice guy routine, or that Tina Fey, while a superb comic actress and writer, didn’t have the acting chops to be totally convincing during the more dramatic elements of the story.
Ultimately I found Admission tried to cover too much emotional ground, while painting its characters with an overly broad brush. I found it predictable, overly melodramatic at times and surprisingly not that funny.
This is a very light comedy drama, but if you’re a fan of either of the film’s stars then you may get some enjoyment out of this. I didn’t think the couple had chemistry, but maybe you will, and that would make all the difference in a movie like this.
There is nothing especially visual about this film, so a regular DVD or streaming show on any device you like will service the film just fine.
The only element in this film I wish they had explored more was during the college admission reviews. As each student’s folder is opened, the student would suddenly appear in the office as their information was being read out. As they are rejected, a set of trap doors would open and the student would fall – Denied!