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Old School (2003)

Grown men really should know better than to party like this.

Directed by:

Todd Phillips

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 91 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Country: United States

There's something hugely appealing about the idea of putting the tedium of adult life behind you and reverting to those carefree liquor-fuelled college days. For most of us it's a nice but sadly unrealistic thought. If only we were all like the madcap funsters in "Old School", things would be so much easier.

Take Mitch (Luke Wilson), for instance. Having returned home early from work to find his wife Heidi (Juliette Lewis) hosting a swingers' get-together, he decides to cut loose from the marital home and move into a vacated professor's house on the local college campus. Best bud Beanie (Vince Vaughn) soon has the bright idea of using his pal's new accommodation for some serious partying, and before long the pair of them, along with struggling newly-wed Frank (Will Ferrell), have officially established their own unique Uni fraternity. Unfortunately, the gang's newfound happy-go-lucky existence looks like a dead duck when college dean Gordon Pritchard (Jeremy Piven) predictably sticks his oar in.

Events are never in danger of becoming even remotely original, but there are enough belly laughs provided to prevent the so-so plotline and mediocre direction from turning the whole thing into a complete write-off. Wilson is in his element as the straight man who's never quite comfortable with his newfound lifestyle as a party "Godfather", and Ferrell's done this kind of stuff often enough in sketch format to know how to get a laugh or three. But Vaughn grates as the somewhat smarmy rabble-rouser behind the party project, and Piven – fine comic actor though he is – is badly miscast in a role surely meant for someone considerably older.

For the most part "Old School" opts out of the gross-out style of comedy used in the likes of "American Pie" and "Road Trip", but maintains a certain low-brow appeal that for some inexplicable reason still works fairly well. You may well find yourself enjoying it despite all better judgement.

It's Got: Rap king Snoop Dogg as an extra special guest at party number 1.

It Needs: To do something a bit different with a format we’ve already seen done over and over again.

Alternatives:

Ferris Bueller's Day Off, National Lampoon's Animal House, Office Space

Summary

Unoriginal and not particularly well made, but with enough genuinely funny moments to score pass marks – which, in all fairness, is really all it sets out to achieve.

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