Old School isn’t the worst movie ever made, but it sure lacks pace and a sense of intelligence. While moviemakers might not have been drunk making this movie, you’ll have to be drunk to enjoy it. It defies all logic to sift through the aesthetics of a movie like Old School. Brain-numbing movies like this one may be created to purge knowledge, but more likely, to celebrate the reclaiming of the male spirit—drink fast, fuck hard, die young.
Old School is not the raucous or raunchy flick the TV spots have you believe, and it is funny at times. But by the same token, how many times do you need to hear a 300 year-old man yell ‘shit, cock and pussy’ before that joke’s dead? It’s a little strange, as the plot and characters develop, Will Ferrell seems to be in another movie all his own—especially when he turns into Frank the Tank. Vince Vaughn comes in here and there, usually with a baby strapped to his chest, as if he’s continuing his role from Swingers. Luke Wilson just says the lines in a near Fight Club parody—“Fraternity? I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The basic premise of Old School is that three 30-something guys decide to build a fraternity because the house Luke Wilson is renting happens to reside in some university DMZ. So, to prevent the house from being condemned, they open it up to a nightly kegger.
Or, maybe this is a movie about family and relationships? Or maybe it’s a movie about real estate? The point is, this movie is all over the map with the jokes way too far apart. You don’t get to the main idea of the story until you’re nearly half-way through the film. The movie feels like it was written by a first-time writer in a beginning writing class and the director says, “Okay, Will, I don’t care what you do, but do it funny so I can live up to my Road Trip credit. And then I’ll bring in my buddy, Seann William Scott, to do a cameo from my Road Trip days so you two can riff. Remember, guys, I directed Road Trip so I know what I’m doing.”
The movie would’ve been much more interesting if the guy’s wives and girlfriends had a sorority to play off the men’s frat house. Something is badly needed in the plot to balance out the segregation of the sexes. Women in flicks like these are usually horny sluts or vindictive bitches and there’s so very little in between. Movies like these are fine if you’ve got seven horny teenage guys posturing as men, but here is an A-list cast brought down to B-class quality. Having said all that, there are a couple of good jokes and some laughs in Old School and this is the only comedy that’s out this week. If you try, maybe you can still catch that kangaroo flick somewhere. Yes, this is comedy suicide season. “Drunk Frat Boy Commits Harikari With Rubber Chicken, But Joke Is On Him, Rubber Chicken Joke Was Already Dead.”
Old School (2 out of Four)
R, 2003, 91 min., DreamWorks Pictures.
Stars: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Music by Theodore Shapiro, Produced by Daniel Goldberg, Joe Medjuck and Todd Phillips, Written by Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong and Directed by Todd Phillips.
Drugs, Drinking and Delinquent Flicks:
National Lampoon’s Animal House, Seniors, Road Trip, American Pie, PCU, Back to School, The New Guy, Can’t Hardly Wait, M*A*S*H*, Porky’s, Dude, Where’s My Car?, crazy/beautiful, The Naked Lunch, Permanent Midnight, Barfly, Coach (Cathy Lee Crosby), Wildcats