Sunday, 2 February 2014

Admission

So here we are again, the gods of Blu-ray releases have placed something in our hands for us to not understand.  Admission, starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd has suddenly become available and perhaps I’m having a nervous breakdown but it seems to be a film about getting really upset at stuff and not getting on with people very well.


It thinks it’s a comedy, at least I think it thinks that.  The film follows Portia Nathan, played by Fey, who works in an admissions office for Princeton University, one of those big pretentious ones that only let you in if you’ve actually met Jesus and a member of your family has written permission from Hilary Clinton to perform fellatio on her husband.  All of which is very back-slappy, mason-esque bullshit.  Anyway, Portia has a slightly charming boyfriend (read English accent) who she’s been dating for 10 years. Despite this, he immediately stinks of someone who is going to break her heart in the near future and the dialogue between the two has too much denial peppered through it to dissuade you from this assumption. 

Things to the effect of:
“I never wanted kids… well… he never wanted kids, but I didn’t really either… god I’d love some kids.”
“I always wanted to go to Italy but Mark doesn’t like it there.”
“We have a very passionate sexual relationship… not passionate… rough and there’s no sex, but he does hit me a lot.”

So in this respect the film displays it’s main fault using painfully obvious character archetypes. It was as tedious as watching a pipette fill a paddling pool over weeks, but slowed down so it takes decades and then somehow sped up so it covers a two hour long film, but it doesn’t make it anymore interesting.


In an attempt to liven things up there are some very paint-it-by numbers, shoe-horned in American Pie-esque ‘gross moments’, a quirky mother who just makes me wish the film was called “Tina Fey in Matricide” and a typical will-they/won’t-they element where the answer is so clearly yes as usual but you’re left with no closure whatsoever. Sometimes this leaves the viewer feeling the film was realistic and life isn’t all happy endings, but this felt like the story was written accidentally by a child playing with alphabet potatoes.

John Pressman, played by Rudd, is the principal of the school Quest and comes in all full of charm as usual. I just wanted to hug my computer and I even damaged the screen by trying to thrust thoughtful gifts directly into his hands. It turns out he’s a terrible father that doesn’t listen to his son, and he spends more time trying to get Portia to realise that one of his students is the son she gave up for adoption many years ago. Setting up the stereotypical lovely happy ending, which you will seriously crave because the rest of the film is basically watching Fey having a breakdown in ninety tedious minutes.

She’s so career driven and hates children, this is a theme presented early enough so that you would never have the inkling to assume that she may actually sacrifice her career because of her own child.  Which of course she does, and then it turns out he’s not her son, and he hates her now.  But here’s the twist, the actual happy ending comes from her going to the adoption agency and asking to meet her real son.  But he doesn’t want to. So she cries a bit more.  The sequel to this film will be about as long as it takes to watch Fey kick a chair out from under herself with a heroin needle dangling from her arm like a meat thermometer in a roast chicken.


Don’t get me wrong though, I love Tina Fey and Paul Rudd I just think this film suffered from taking a sweet story of a woman suddenly discovering that she is capable of being a fantastic mother and spoiling it by having all kinds of stupid shit happen to her along the way. Just in the name of comedy.  I can practically hear some pompous arse with a cigar screaming ‘We need more jokes in here, baby, movie-goers don’t want realism they wanna laugh until they choke to death on their popcorn and urinate uncontrollably into their Pepsis”. So this film is worth watching if people start accusing you of being happy or only watching good films and you, for some reason, take offence and decide to prove them wrong.

Dave Roberts


Admission at CeX



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