College (2008)

Directed by: Deb Hagan

Premise: Three high school seniors (Kevin Brewer, Andrew Caldwell, Kevin Covais) visit a college campus for a weekend and end up staying in a fraternity house. The brothers of the house turn them into recruits and set about hazing them. In the process, the senior boys meet a trio of women at a sorority house.

What Works: Camille Mana, Haley Bennett, Nathalie Walker costar as the female leads. They have very little to do in this film except stand around and look pretty, but they are clearly the most talented actors in the film and they are much better than this material.

What Doesn’t: College is easily the most disastrous comedy released yet this year. The three male leads are pathetic, paper-thin imitations of the characters in Superbad but without the innocence and good heartedness that made Superbad’s characters so fun to watch. The fraternity brothers are more disgusting and less funny versions of the same character types in Van Wilder and Old School, and their actions cross over from adolescent shenanigans and into downright psychotic behavior. The sex comedy and coming of age genres have overlapped before in films like American Pie and Superbad and the two can complement each other successfully but in College the film keeps using one to short circuit the other. Each time the senior boys have an opportunity to learn something about themselves, or about self-respect and responsibility they go the other way. The student’s relationships with the three women of the sorority house really is the stuff of a softcore porn film and that is really what College is, and even at that it’s done very poorly. Beyond being just cliché ridden and unfunny—it hasn’t got a single laugh in its entire ninety-four minute running time—it’s also misogynistic, homophobic, and all around obnoxious. The film constantly relies on homophobic humor while having the male characters engage in homoerotic acts of hazing and the film’s treatment of women is as poor, as shallow, and as piggish as the actions of the fraternity brothers.

Bottom Line: You know a comedy is in trouble when the only funny thing in it are the outtakes that run over the end credits. College aspires to pictures like Animal House but it’s really the descendent of Porky’s, as it embraces all of that film’s misogyny with none of the intelligence or irony that have made films like recent sex comedies like Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall so fun. 

 

Episode: #203 (September 7, 2008)