Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

April 10, 2013

Admission barely makes the cut

Andy Stuckey, Ryan Maddux
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — This week we watched the romantic comedy Admission (PG-13), starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

Fey plays a Princeton admissions officer who ends up in a complicated relationship with the head of an alternative school (Rudd). Further complications ensue when she finds out a student applying for admission may be a child she gave up for adoption years earlier. Paul Weitz directs.

Andy: Admission is a by-the-books romantic comedy that tries to play itself off as smart and unique. It is not really either of those things. It is mostly just a romantic comedy. Fortunately, a romantic comedy starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd has a lot going for it, as those are two very likable leads. Both are in their full-charm mode, but that is not quite enough to salvage a movie that seems largely uninspired.

Ryan: This is one of those movies that deal with seemingly smart people making and acting like not-very smart people. Andy is spot on that Admission feels very unimaginative. Admission is a very ordinary movie that never finds the right gear in administrating its comedy and drama. The movie greatly feels like a sitcom in terms of how conflict is neatly set up and tidily dealt with. I know most romantic comedies are fluff by design, but there’s absolutely no weight behind the film’s narrative.        

Andy:  One of the issues with Admission is the way it playfully handles important life choices. Events like college admission, or making the choice to give up a child for adoption, can be very serious, stressful decisions that a person could have to make.  Admission tries to acknowledge this while continuing to be a light-hearted rom-com, and sometimes that falls a little flat. Admission is an okay concept, but it never quite gets off the ground in a way that makes a meaningful impact.

Ryan: As Andy echoed earlier, both Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are very enjoyable performers. One would think that a pairing of these two comedians would be a smart decision. While each delivers suitable performances, their chemistry is almost non-existent. Maybe it shouldn’t be that surprising considering that both have checkered film resumes when it comes to being romantic leads.  Rudd is hit (I Love You Man and This is 40) or miss (Wanderlust and Dinner for Schmucks) with his offerings, and Fey’s rom-com’s (Baby Mama and Date Night) are mired in mediocrity. Admission isn’t a good film but on the bright side, it also isn’t a career-killer type of film. I’m sure both Fey and Rudd will be okay after everyone forgets about this movie.    

Andy: The final issues with Admission revolve around the chemistry between Rudd and Fey. Both are such recognizable stars, and both are revered in the same circles. It seems like a logical paring, but it somehow feels disingenuous in this film.  Both of these actors have much better films ahead of them, and it is entirely likely that nobody will remember this one five years from now.  

Admission had good intentions and a likable cast but ultimately comes up short in its execution.

Final grade:  C+.