Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

‘Admission’ Review: Nothing Romantic About This Comedy

Any film that makes the lovely and talented Tina Fey look like an idiot has got to be garbage. Admission is a weird and messily directed film with a terrible screenplay.

In the trailers, Admission is marketed as a romantic comedy focusing on a woman who is struggling to find happiness and one who is clearly stressed out with her job as an admissions officer at Princeton University. Only one of the above three plot points is correct. Portia (Tina Fey) seems to have a love-hate relationship with her job as an admissions officer. She’s been working at Princeton over 15 years, evaluating thousands of applicants every year for the freshman class at the world famous university.

Part of Portia’s job is to travel to different schools in the Northeast region of the U.S. and give the whole elevator pitch about Princeton to the school’s seniors. On her route, Portia decides to visit a much different school than her usual privileged ones called The Quest School, run by John (Paul Rudd). At this alternative school, Third World development is a main topic of discussion and the students don’t try to hide their disgust for schools like Princeton.

There is one student at The Quest School who is eager at the opportunity to attend Princeton. Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) is far from Princeton’s typical applicant, but John thinks he is the ultimate prodigy the university should go after. John pressures Portia into helping the senior, but if she does her career could be compromised. And that’s all I’ll say without giving a major plot twist away.

The plot twist wouldn’t be so horrible, if the film weren’t branded a comedy, but the twist feels too intrusive, that it can’t be taken seriously. Admission has one too many things going on: Portia and John’s rocky “romantic relationship”, Portia’s struggle to do what’s right and the drama with her mama (Lily Tomlin) in the film feels forced. Had the film just followed one of these subplots fully, it would be a heck of a lot better.

Tina Fey delivers the comedic lines perfectly and earns a few laughs, but it’s the other 2/3 of the film where she visibly looks uncomfortable onscreen. It’s not her fault the screenplay is a big cluttered mess, I’m just sorry that she took on such a crappy role that made her look bad!

I love Paul Rudd, but he pretty much acts the same in every film. Think I Love You, Man, Wanderlust, This is 40…yea, and they’re all pretty similar to his character in Admission.

Admission is not the film you expect going in, which is OK in some cases, but certainly not with this one. This film critic would have been glad to put a big fat “DENY” stamp on the front of this screenplay.

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