In ROAD TRIP, director Todd Phillips was able to take a tired genre, the teen
comedy, and make it feel fresh and funny. In his most recent attempt, OLD
SCHOOL, he seems to have completely lost his touch. Although the movie
alternates between bad slapstick and relationship drama, it is the slapstick
that is slightly the better of the two. With jokes about fat people, beer
guzzling and oral sex classes, the movie is about as fresh as last week's
Like most people, I have certain rules which have been proven by the test of
time. One of these is that movies featuring Saturday Night Live alumni are
usually bad. OLD SCHOOL, which stars SNL veteran Will Ferrell, again validates
the usefulness of this maxim. Ferrell and usually reliable Luke Wilson and
Vince Vaughn play Frank, Mitch and Beanie, three guys in their thirties and
forties who start a fraternity at a college they don't attend. Their
egalitarian boy's club, which they began as a ruse in order to keep the college
from repossessing their house, will take anyone, regardless of age.
One of their pledges is an 89-year-old, whom they abuse with "Drop down and give
me 10 [push-ups]," when he doesn't perform as commanded. This grizzled, old
codger almost has the time of his life when he tries wrestling two young and
topless coeds coated in KY Jelly. The event -- surprise -- proves too much for
When the guys aren't acting like obnoxious teenagers, Frank, Mitch and Beanie
try coping with their relationship problems with the women in their lives. Get
out a scorecard if you want to keep them and their various wives and girlfriends
straight. On second thought, forget the scorecard since you won't care, even if
the movie, with its sappy moments, thinks you will.
Usually cameos are surefire ways to put a little spice into an otherwise bland
production. But OLD SCHOOL's two cameos, one by a rapper and another by a
political spinmeister, fall as flat as the movie itself.
OLD SCHOOL runs 1:30. It is rated R for "some strong sexual content, nudity and
language" and would be acceptable for older teenagers.
My son Jeffrey, almost 14, gave it ** 1/2, saying that he thoroughly enjoyed it
and thought it was funny.
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes