Director: Paul Weitz
Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Lily Tomlin, Wallace Shawn, Gloria Reuben, Michael Sheen
“Just be yourself” seems to be the motto of Portia Nathan (Fey). Portia is an admissions officer at Princeton University and that is her pitch and words of advice to all of the incoming prospects who are desperate to get in. Portia’s life seems to be a bit in shambles. Her boyfriend, Mark (Sheen), has left her with no notice for a snooty Virginia Woolf scholar. She is battling her coworker (Reuben) for a promotion after her boss (Shawn) announces his pending retirement. On top of that, her relationship with her mother, Susannah (Tomlin), is not the greatest.
During one of her recruiting trips, she pays a visit to New Quest School. New Quest is pretty non-traditional in every sense of the word. It seems to be in the middle of the woods like a summer camp. There should be no surprise when the GPS in Portia’s car loses signal before she arrives on site. There she reconnects with John Pressman (Rudd) a former classmate who now runs New Quest. He presents to her Jeremiah, one of his most gift students who would like to attend Princeton. John believes that Jeremiah may be the child that Portia had in school but gave up for adoption.
Does the story seem kind of ho-hum so far? Admissionis another example of the kind of movie where the actors make the movie what it is and are the only reason to see it. There is really nothing all that special about the story. The plot is weak and wanders all around the troubles of Portia’s life. When you think of Fey and Rudd, you expect lots of quirky moments and good laughs along the way. The script is not all that funny. I was surprised to find it to be more of a dramedy that your standard witty comedy those two are typically associated with doing. I have been a fan of both of them for years and years and applaud them for trying something a little different. It may surprise you to find out that this is their first project together. They are both strong enough actors and have great chemistry together that they keep you moderately interested despite the many flaws with the film. Tomlin and Shawn are comedic veterans so it is always a treat seeing them on screen. If you are a fan of Fey, Rudd, or Tomlin you will enjoy the movie but do not be surprised if you come out wanting more.
RATING: *** (3 out of 5 stars)