A banal little college rebellion comedy, “Accepted” plays like “Animal House” if it were being made for the Hallmark Channel. Hampered with a PG-13 rating which prevents any “American Pie” style gross out sex humour, the film tries to mine laughs from the premise of attempted fraud to setup a college – so lots of lying to parents whilst guys oogle girls in bikinis or make bad jokes about weiners and all too sanitised frat parties.
It’s a cute idea, and the cast ranging from the ever dependable Justin Long to the sweet Blake Lively, make it very easy to digest. “The Daily Show” regular Lewis Black brings his loud absurdist style which delivers the film’s few good laughs, even if the man is serious declawed and reduced to spouting monologues in desperate need of some profanity and bite.
All are hampered though by a genuinely piece meal script comprised of every cliche in the book. From rival college fratboys who look like Abercrombie models, to the fat guy who bemoans his fate and ultimately helps save the day, and a face off with the evil college dean (as this is a made-up college they have to take on a dean from a rival school), it’s all so tired.
There’s some nice little moments of attack against the pompousness of the establishment, and the general stupidity of arrogant rich kid students, but the swipes are half-hearted. There’s nothing skewering here, nothing that does more than touch the surface of the hypocrisy inherent to many of these institutions. Some of the themes brought up one would love to see torn apart, but “Accepted” is so inherently nice and well behaved it would make even a conservative christian college freshman think “I’ve had wilder times than that”.
College comedies can be genre changers – the likes of “Old School”, “Road Trip” and “Animal House” have shown what good fun one can have with limited material. “Accepted” on the other hand will quickly disappear from memory. It’s the college comedy you can show your gran thanks to its message of self-actualisation, its underdog spirit, and its overall blandness. For kids about the age of these students however, it’s a real bore. I mean seriously most of us got up to naughtier things in pre-school than these guys do. Forgettable pap.