Old School

ROAD TRIP (2000) writer/director Todd Phillips again brings his brand of adolescent humor to bear on the world of college life, and whether you view that as a blessing or a curse is a matter of personal taste. Conservative Mitch (Luke Wilson) returns from a business trip to find long-time girlfriend Heidi (Juliette Lewis) involved in a kinky sex act, so...read more

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Reviewed by Angel Cohn
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ROAD TRIP (2000) writer/director Todd Phillips again brings his brand of adolescent humor to bear on the world of college life, and whether you view that as a blessing or a curse is a matter of personal taste. Conservative Mitch (Luke Wilson) returns from a business trip to find long-time girlfriend Heidi (Juliette Lewis) involved in a kinky sex act, so he leaves their shared apartment and moves into a rambling house conveniently located on the outskirts of the local college campus. Mitch's best friends — newlywed Frank (Will Farrell) whose legendary drinking earned him the nickname "Frank the Tank," and married-with-children Beanie (Vince Vaughn), a dry wit with opinions about everything — convince the newly-single Mitch to have a housewarming party. Things inevitably get out of hand, and the wild bash infuriates former high-school nerd Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Piven), whom Mitch and his pals tormented relentlessly when they were all teenagers. He rezones the property so Mitch can be evicted, but the clever trio find a loophole and establish the honorary Lambda Epsilon Omega fraternity, for which they recruit a motley pack of pledges of all colors, ages, shapes and educational backgrounds. Everything's great until the frat starts to interfere with Frank's marriage and Mitch's fledgling relationship with Nicole (Ellen Pompeo), the pretty blonde on whom he's had a crush since high school, and Pritchard's wrath sends him on a rampage to shut them down. Phillips's testosterone-driven romp was clearly inspired by classic lowbrow college comedies like ANIMAL HOUSE (1978) and REVENGE OF THE NERDS (1984) and, not surprisingly, its female characters are woefully neglected, leaving a group of talented actresses with little to do. Their underuse creates some gaping holes in the plot, notably the part that deals with Frank's marriage, which appears significant at the outset but rapidly fades into the background. But the frat brothers have some surprisingly touching moments, and their diverse but perfectly matched personalities generate a fairly steady stream of laugh-out-loud moments — if only the gross-out moments, particularly the streaking in which Ferrell bares a bit too much of himself, didn't go on so long.

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: R
  • Review: ROAD TRIP (2000) writer/director Todd Phillips again brings his brand of adolescent humor to bear on the world of college life, and whether you view that as a blessing or a curse is a matter of personal taste. Conservative Mitch (Luke Wilson) returns from… (more)

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