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Accepted (2006)

Reject rejection

Directed by:

Steve Pink

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 90 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13

Country: United States

Even before ‘Accepted’ begins, you’ve already seen it. Just get out your book of college movie clichés and you could write the script. Loveable lead who doesn’t fit in? Check. A beautiful woman with the wrong guy? Check. A social misfit who finally accepts who he is? Check.

Even though it’s predictable, ‘Acceptable’ is also good fun. Justin Long plays Bartleby Gaines, a high school senior rejected by eight colleges. He’s that person we all know who always has a scheme and could manage a Fortune 500 company, if only he had the opportunity.

Gaines and his friends, Hands (Columbus Short), a football player who lost his scholarship due to injury, and Rory (Maria Thayer), a girl who fell short of her Ivy League dream, convince their social-misfit friend Glen (Adam Herschman), who attends nearby Harmon University, to create a fake college website and fake acceptance letters to please their parents. They then lease an abandoned psychiatric hospital, complete with rubber rooms, and clean it up. Because it’s close to Harmon University, our gang of plucky youths names their school the South Harmon Institute of Technology (the acronym is intentional). When Gaines’ parents want to speak with the dean, he convinces Glen’s Uncle Ben (Lewis Black) to fill the role.

Everything goes well until hundreds of student misfits, rejected by all other colleges, arrive at South Harmon for orientation. Glen’s website may have been fake, but it sent real acceptance letters to everyone who applied.

As the student body of South Harmon engages in its own unique academic pursuits, the dean of Harmon University wants to shut the school down. This leads to the inevitable confrontation between the two.

‘Accepted’ is entertaining, but loaded with missed opportunities. It relies too much on montages without enough actual dialog. It also tries too hard for its PG-13 rating, teasing you with scenes that would be far funnier and more entertaining in an R rated movie. It if weren’t for Lewis Black being Lewis Black this movie would probably be rated PG.

It's Got: Lewis Black, a disco ball operated by “The Clapper” and a positive message about accepting those who don’t fit in.

It Needs: To be less predictable and embrace the movie ancestors from which it clearly descends.

Alternatives:

American Pie, Animal House, Back to School, Camp Nowhere, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

Summary

Despite its formulaic and predictable plot, ‘Accepted’ is acceptable; it’s just not memorable.

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