Tuesday, February 10, 2009

College (2008)

Directed by Deb Hagan
Starring Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell, Kevin Covais
Rated R
USA

Perhaps it is heresy to place a film made in this digital age amongst all these goofy relics from the polyester era, but occasionally it happens, a genuine boner-popper from nows-ville that taps the 80’s with such authenticity that it just fits, man, it just cozies up next to Party Camp and Ski School and pukes in a plant and gooses a granny and makes you feel all warm and nostalgic for your teenage loserdom days. College is one of those films.

The story, like all respectable teen sex coms, is a remarkably simple one. Three high school friends – Kevin (Nickelodeon star Drake Bell), the sincere one; Carter (Andrew Caldwell), the fat, up-for-anything loudmouth; and Morris (Kevin Covais), the bespectacled nerd – have just finished their junior year. Morris has an interview for the college of his dreams, and is headed there to spend a weekend on campus. During lunch on the last day of school, one of their classmates, a Mohawk-ed tweaker named Fletcher (Ryan Pinkston) tells them that he just got back from a weekend at college visiting his brother, and tells them a wide-eyed tale of sex, drugs, crime, and puke, which easily convinces the fat kid to tag along with Morris. And then Kevin gets dumped by his girlfriend Gina (Alona Tal) for being boring and lame, so he decides to join in on the trip to prove her wrong. And so he does.

College has been heavily reviewed already, so I will skip the blow-by-blow, but some of events that transpire over their life-altering weekend include:

A stay at in the basement of a rat-infested frat house lorded over by 30 year old maniacs who shoot people in the streets with paintball guns for fun.

A trip to a balls-out party at an all-gay frat house (a prank pulled by the above, naturally)

A party wherein the fat kid meets a gorgeous blonde who takes him upstairs to fuck him; when they are interrupted, they hide under a bed while two lesbians get it on. When the lesbians split, the worst of the 30 year old maniacs shows up to masturbate. Somehow or another, all three end up in bed together.

The nerd kid meets a cute Asian chick how falls asleep in his lap while giving him a handjob. Later on he ends up at his entrance interview with obscenities Sharpied all over his face. Later on still, he accidentally gets drunk on punch and pukes all over the dean of the college.

The frat bastards steal the trio’s wallets and use their credit cards to throw a party where Supagroup plays live, topless girls go-go dance in cages, and Penthouse Pets and Verne Troyer are hired to hang out.

The sincere kid gets hit in the face with a piss balloon, and later on is duck-taped, naked, to a statue.

Our heroes are forced to drink body-shots off a hairy frat boy’s body, including a lingering shot where the sincere kid gulps Tequila straight from the dude’s ass.

Instead of the traditional charity car wash, one sorority house throws a ‘charity body wash’ wherein they take their tops off and mush up against guys in a kiddy pool.

Etc.

Strangely (to me; you may share the rest of the universe’s view), College was a critical and box-office disaster, ably revealing the tough-to-crack conundrum modern film-makers face when attempting an 80’s style raunch-fest: all the for-free ‘sex comedy’ garbage on the internet is so much raunchier than anything you could conceivably show in a movie theater that the initial attraction to the film – boobs, puke, parties – is rendered moot. The flaw in that argument is pretty glaring, though: not everyone wants to see Dumpster Sluts. It’s like the argument against legalizing Marijuana. Not everyone’s going to do it just because it’s legal. Some dudes wanna dedicate their lives to bong-worship, some dudes wanna form straight edge punk bands, some dudes just want to occasionally smoke a joint on the weekends. And yes, some people want full-on, is-it-surgery-or-porn graphic sex and hardcore arm-snapping pranks, but plenty of other folks just want to see some fuckin’ tits and laugh at nerds. The critics that slammed College seem to have missed that rather vital point and helped to mercilessly sink the film into oblivion. While College is certainly no Animal House, it is no King Frat, either. It’s very funny in places, and –at least in the unrated version – is pretty generous in its nudity quotient.

The three main leads often seem like crinkly Xeroxed versions of Seth, Evan and McLovin in Superbad (the reigning champ of modern teen sex comedy, and one of the most classic examples of the genre, even without boobs), and College does suffer a bit from the obvious comparisons, but then every teen sex com is an homage to the ones that came before it, so it’s a minor quibble, really.

In summation: College is funny and yes, raunchy (80’s style raunch, not berserk 00’s two-girls-one-cup raunch), full of gross-out humor, hot chicks, and a pretty smokin’ soundtrack. It fits pretty seamlessly into the classic teen-sex-com mold, so if you’re looking for a more modern take on Revenge of the Nerds-y college hijinx, this one’ll do the job. And yes, boners will be popped.

What are you gonna do after you graduate?
Despite its teenage male perspective, College was directed by a woman, Deb Hagan. It was her first feature. During promotion for the film she promised, in interviews, a career full of tits-out humor; last I checked, though, she’s producing for Disney. So that career may be canceled. Drake Bell is starring in the next Sleepaway Camp movie (the last one was a great 80’s slasher redux, so right on). Andrew Caldwell is clearly going for a Stephen Furst-style career as the fat guy in titty comedies. His next project is the tantalizingly titled Spring Break ’83, starring Adrian Zmed, Morgan Fairchild, Erik Estrada, and Lee Majors. As for the girls, well, for most this was their first and so far only acting credit. So I am guessing either low budget horror or Doubleviking.com.

Availability: College is available on DVD.

Clip: College Trailer



- Ken McIntyre


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