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Stealing Harvard

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Stealing Harvard

Starring: Jason Lee, Tom Green
Director: Bruce McCulloch
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 83 Minutes
Release Date: September 2002
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Dennis Farina, John C. McGinley, Chris Penn, Megan Mullally, Leslie Mann, Dennis Farina, Richard Jenkins, Tammy Blanchard

Review by Susan Granger
0 stars out of 4

There are films that try the patience of even the most cinema-besotted critic - and this was one of them. It's bottom-of-the-barrel awful, matched only by "Freddie Got Fingered," another Tom Green wannabe comedy, and Eddie Murphy's "The Adventures of Pluto Nash."

Jason Lee ("Almost Famous") stars as John Plummer, who's not the dimmest light on the Christmas tree - but close. He works at Homespital, a home medical supply store owned by his future father-in-law (Dennis Farina), and has saved $30,000 with his fiancée (Leslie Mann) so they can get married and make a down-payment on their dream home. But, years before, John made a vow to pay the tuition for his niece Noreen (Tammy Blanchard) if she got into a good college. Miraculously, despite her "sexually indiscriminate trailer park trash" mother (Megan Mullally) who has four marriages under her belt, Noreen gets accepted by Harvard University. After calculating financial aid and her savings, she needs $29,879 from her Uncle John - and she's counting on it. So hapless John faces a terrible dilemma. In desperation, he turns to his ne'er-do-well landscaper buddy (Tom Green) and they concoct a series of loony schemes to raise the money. They break into a home, hold up a liquor store with toy guns, and attempt a bank heist. Each fails miserably - as does the bungled screenplay written by Peter Tolan and directed by Bruce McCulloch. The alleged appeal of Tom Green totally eludes me. He evidences no acting skill whatever, lurches through dialogue and can't convey even the most basic emotion. His eyes glaze over and his only reaction to any given situation is a blank stare. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Stealing Harvard" is an obnoxious, failing 1. For me, it was an endurance test.

Copyright © 2002 Susan Granger

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