Movie Review: Accepted (2006)

Starring: Justin Long, Jonah Hill and Blake Lively

Directed by: Steve Pink

After being rejected by every college he applied to, Bartleby Gaines doesn’t want to bare the disappointment of his parents so decided to create his own fictitious college so they’re proud of him. When his plan works all too well, suddenly he has an influx of other college rejects show up which puts his plan in jeopardy.

My first movie of March and to be honest I was pleasantly surprised. With a fairly strong cast which included a young Justin Long, Jonah Hill and Blake Lively, Accepted had everything going for it from an original storyline and great comedy moments.

Accepted tells the story of Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) a high school slacker who gets rejected by all eight colleges he applies to. Desperate to not disappoint his parents Bartleby and some friends decide to create their own college, South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T for short). This puts a plan of sorts in motion, with an old mental hospital leased and decorated to give his parents the impression of a college campus Bartleby and company think that they’re in the clear. However the flaw in their plan was about to be realised when best friend Sherman (Jonah Hill) made their fake website all too real as other college rejects started showing up with acceptance letters from S.H.I.T. With his back against the wall and in somewhat of a pickle, Bartleby just tries to run with it by using the rejects’ tuition fees to try and build a college of the people where classes are whatever the students want them to be. With the real Harmon college sniffing around it’s only a matter of time before Bartleby and his friends get rumbled and have to come clean.

Initially I thought Accepted was going to be another generic college movie similar to American Pie and Road Trip where all the focus was on college students drinking and having sex. While I do enjoy both of those movies I feel once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Thankfully Accepted was nice change, while there was elements of drinking and chasing after girls, this was only a small portion of the movie which had a surprisingly inspiring message woven into its story. The movie is a message of creativity, freedom and giving everybody their fair chance at life which I didn’t expect the movie to have. Also, Accepted doesn’t have to rely on the use of obscene language to be funny either, Justin Long, Jonah Hill and Maria Thayer were all brilliantly funny in their own way. The stand out performer though was that of Lewis Black, who plays Sherman’s uncle and gets brought into to be the college Dean. He was outstanding, his comedy, his life lessons and his all round persona was fantastic and he really brought out the best around him.

Despite all the positives, Accepted did have a few flaws. The character of Glen played by Adam Herschman was so terribly annoying, while he played the character well, I tend to hate the stereotypical class clown type character who just blurts out weird and nonsensical sentences for “comedy value”. As he was one of the original members of the college he was somewhat of a main character who had plenty of screen time to my dismay. Also, as much as I did enjoy the story as it was different from the norm, if you think about it logically it’s so far fetched that it would never be believable and by the end, the group of friends who were so desperate to go to college end up being the tutors? So, what happened to their own education? A few plot holes that didn’t make sense for me.

All in all Accepted was a very decent movie which is different to your run of the mill college movie, which is both good and bad. Strong performances from Justin Long, Jonah Hill and Lewis Black help mask the flaws and provide you with a quality, entertaining comedy.

7/10

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