How many times have you looked at an essay you’re writing for school, and said to yourself, “This will get an A”, only to end up with something lower? I can say that I was that kind of guy. Admittedly, I was not a good student, especially during my High School years. I had no interest in learning and just wanted to finish my four years as soon as possible. I was able to turn in my homework and please my teachers enough to pass my class and move on. Then I found out I had to put in a lot of work in my college essays. I knew I wanted to attend college to make a better person out of myself. But how was I going to become accepted given my not so hopeful transcript?
I sought help from an admissions consulting services and they told me that besides doing well on my SAT’s, I had to write some amazing essays. I must have done something right, as I was able to get in the schools of my choice. A couple of years later, I would come out with a degree and a motivated attitude to do what I wanted. I knew that I had put in more work into my essays then I did into my High School work. I still wonder what was it that the admissions officers liked about my personal statements. Seeing Admission gave me a chance to look at the people holding on the work of very stressed, but motivated kids.
Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan (played by Tina Fey) shares the difficult task of reading personal statements that have stories of being class president or winning the national championships in gymnastics. She has to decide if these achievements can translate these students into the next generations of leaders and prodigies. During her season to visit high schools to talk to potential candidates, she receives a call from a former classmate.
John Pressman (played by Paul Rudd) convicts her to visit his alternative school to explain the need to go to college to change the world. After a stressful information session, she meets a gifted, yet unconventional student named Jeremiah who wants to only go to Princeton. It is during this time when she finds out that this teenager may be her son that she gave away for adoption just after he was born. This admissions officer now needs to decide whether her possible son is good enough for one of the most academically completive schools.
It cannot be easy doing what Tina Fey does in Admission. I felt like that she could fit this role perfectly. Now what it needed was more comedy. Though this film is being marketed as a comedy, I found very little of it here. If this movie was planning on downplaying it’s comedy to produce something more of the lines of the daily life of a job, that’s fine. But by choosing this, I was hoping for something meatier on the university side.
What doesn’t help is Paul Rudd who plays a very selfish character who seems more interested in making Tina Fey his girlfriend then helping his student. Though I won’t give away the ending, if you’ve seen the trailer, it’s very likely you know the ending already. But even with a story as contrived as this, I still couldn’t believe that Tina’s character wanted to be with him. I haven’t even mentioned a mistake he makes that is so stupid, that anyone would question the relationship. Even when it focuses on the admission process of young Jeremiah, it fail to address that not getting into your dream college won’t prevent you from accomplishing anything.
I’ll give this two rejection letters from Yale out of five. If you’re going to cast someone like Tina Fey, you have to use her to her comic advantage. Like a plagiarized personal statement, it all feels too restrained.
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