Movie Review: National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978)

Starring: John Belushi, Tom Hulce and Karen Allen

Directed by: John Landis

Faber College has an extremely dysfunctional and disruptive fraternity in the form of Delta Tau Chi. Dean Wormer is determined to get rid of them and all he needs is an excuse.

National Lampoon’s Animal House is a movie that comes very highly regarded by many and is considered as a true 70’s comedy classic. John Belushi is considered as a comedy great and outside of 1941 I haven’t seen him in anything else and while I do intend to watch The Blues Brothers at some point in the future, after watching this movie I’m not in an a huge rush to.

Unfortunately this movie was nothing what I was expecting as it was nowhere near as good as I had anticipated and I think in the 70’s this movie probably was a great comedy but 40 years on from its initial release the comedy really doesn’t transfer well to audiences of today. There were very few moments that I found actually funny and at most all I could muster was a slight smirk from time to time. There were moments which were probably quite shocking and disgusting at the time of its release but now they come across as cheesy moments of attempted humour.

Outside of the performances of Tim Matheson and Peter Riegert who play two of Delta Tau Chi’s senior members there wasn’t a great deal of quality acting across the board. Both Matheson and Riegert were both suave and full of charisma and provided me with the only real moments of humour throughout the film. Annoyingly John Belushi who is definitely the biggest star within the movie was awful, all he seemed to do was just shout and over-act and to be honest I found him and his character to be really off putting to watch. The worst performance of the movie however came in the shape of Stephen Furst who played one of the fraternity’s newest recruits Kent Dorfman, nicknamed Flounder. This was the first feature film where he was given a considerable part and he was truly awful, from the way he delivered his lines to his general demeanour, I am really surprised he was able to make a career out of acting after watching this train wreck of s performance. One segment that I did really enjoy though was the Otis Day concert during the fraternity’s toga party, probably the best scene of the movie.

Overall, I was left extremely disappointed with what I was hoping would be a comedy classic. The movie was largely unfunny and the acting for the most part was pretty awful. So far May has been a bit of a disappointment for movie watching and hopefully in the final few days of May I can turn things around, not with this one though.


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