Accepted (2006)

(On TV, March 2015) I’m not sure if there’s a recent dearth of college comedies, but I can tell you that Accepted acceptably hits the spot.  It’s not a refined or overly clever film, but the central premise –about rejected college applicants accidentally founding their own no-rejection college—is good for a few laughs.  Justin Long is likable as the protagonist who stumbles into becoming a college dean, whereas Jonah Hill plays a representative example of his early fat-nerd persona.  Farther away in the background, Lewis Black has a thunderous small role as a disillusioned ex-academic, while it’s fun to see Maria Thayer’s fiery curls light up scenes as a secondary character without much to say.  But it’s the film’s sense of pacing that works best: Despite a few odd misfires (the probably-improvised electric shock sequence, among others, feels out of place), Accepted’s editing is exemplary, complementing a script that often thrives on rapid-fire dialogue.  While the script eventually veers into idiot-plot territory in which everything is solved via One Big Speech, much of the film actually works well, and even the unlikeliness of its premise (as if community colleges didn’t exist…) actually work in the film’s glorious intent to deliver a silly college comedy no matter its preposterousness.  Accepted amply fulfills the basic requirements for a comedy: it’s fast, easy to watch, not terribly vulgar, largely amusing and often laugh-out-loud funny.  Heck, it may even send the viewer on a few flights of fancy as to what they would do in a similar situation, and whether the whole point of the college experience is simply paying for a social experience away from home.  While Accepted could have been a bit better with a bit more discipline, it’s enjoyable enough as it is.  Pick this one up for your own independent-scholar film appreciation class.

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