Review – Admission

Admission PosterA dramedy about college admissions, this Tina Fey and Paul Rudd vehicle is surprisingly short on laughs but big on heart.

Based on the novel by the same name, Admission focuses on Princeton admissions officer Portia (Fey) who is on the fast track to taking over the department when the current head (Wallace Shawn) retires at the end of the year.  As part of her bid to appear the most ambitious in her position she visits a small, unorthodox school at the bequest of the free-spirited teacher there John Pressman (Rudd).  It turns out John is a former classmate of hers and has an ulterior motive for getting her out to his school – he’s convinced that one of his students (The Naked Brothers Band’s Nat Wolff), who happens to want to get into Princeton, is the son Portia gave up for adoption years before.  This new information turns life in all sorts of directions that the straight-laced Portia wasn’t expecting as she finds herself manipulating the system for Jeremiah.

The film also features Lily Tomlin as Portia’s eccentric mother, Michael Sheen, as Portia’s unlikable boyfriend, and Lost’s Sonya Walger as the despicable Virginia Woolf scholar he takes a liking to.

Despite being billed as a comedy, this is not a raucously funny movie.  It has plenty of humor, but much of it is understated and subtle – there are still the obvious gags showcased in the trailer, but a lot of the humor is less Apatow and more Fey, appropriately.  There is as much drama as there are laughs, and there is a surprisingly large amount of heart to be found.  Tina Fey and Paul Rudd have good on-screen chemistry, and who doesn’t like Lilly Tomlin?  Sheen and Walger provide some of the film’s more memorable recurring moments.  It isn’t a breakout role for Wolff, but he’s likable enough.  It’s the adorable Travaris Spears you’ll remember though.

One of my absolute favorite parts of the movie, and something I wished had been expanded upon more, is the way in which the Princeton applicants are portrayed as Portia and the others are reading their applications.  It’s creative and a lot of fun to watch.

I won’t give away the ending, but while some threads wrap up in the way you would expect, others do not, which I appreciate.  It’s nice to be surprised now and then.  You probably won’t remember it a few months from now, but you could do much worse.

Mrs. Hamster did not attend this screening

My Rating: Three out of Five Hats

haticonhaticonhaticon

Trailer:

Admission opens in 2,100 theaters, March 22