Movie News & Reviews

'College' an utter failure

Great cinema makes us ask big questions. In the case ofCollege, we're made to ask the biggest of all: What did we doto deserve this?

We lie, we betray, we hurt those around us out of weakness and frommalice, but there's redemption, too. To pay money to watch a moviethat makes us sick to the soul -- what collective crime have wecommitted? Are we all so low? Why put us on an Earth whose baseness wecan't escape, then strike us down with a theatrical thunderbolt whenwe inevitably falter?

Is there salvation? What is its form -- cloistering ourselves inside thetheater walls, watching naught but The Godfather andApocalypse Now and It's a Wonderful Life until ourhearts are purged? Or can we find cleansing only in suffering? IsCollege meant to show us true horror, to remind us of ourmonstrous roots? Is there meaning behind this pain? Or is it, like wefear before we dream, nothing but a joke, a hoax, a string ofsenseless and cruel humiliations until, at last, THE END?

Displaying a contempt for humanity I haven't witnessed since the dayits producers weren't aborted, College follows three highschoolers -- Drake Bell (nonthreatening, "likable"), Andrew Caldwell(fat, with a fatter mouth) and Kevin Covais (nerdy milquetoast) -- ontheir fall visit to a local college.

They want what every young man wants: sex, beer, adventure. They getwhat any college experience is a pale shadow without: psychotic fratboys, body shots from hairy asses, pig-shit-related vengeance. Kids:it's not too late to drop out.

Calling it an awful Superbad doesn't begin to plumb the depths.Calling its acting hammy insults swine. Calling its writing anddirection hellish -- script perpetrated by Dan Callahan and AdamEllison, Deb Hagen as head clown directing this shamefulcircus -- belittles the Devil.

Urgh. Some corpses are too rotten to dissect.

I saw it on a Sunday matinee: me, two teenage boys with their dad, anelderly couple tucked in the back corner. When the credits rolled,releasing us, the older couple sat in stony silence, no doubtwondering whether Oregon's euthanasia clinics operate on the Sabbath.The teens bolted, deciding out loud it was the worst movie they'dseen. In a way, it's a small kindness they saw it so young -- theirlives, from here, can only look brighter.

Cutout characters. A plot of such creative poverty it died with theneedle in its arm. Unredeemed wish-fulfillment sleaze with none of thethrill of teen sex comedies or the honesty of porn. The vulgar slang,already so out of date it's hard to even roll your eyes, whichCallahan and Ellison sling around and then helpfully define for uswith the "I'm doing something I'm not supposed to" sneer of that11-year-old boy everyone else hates and is right to hate. Recountingit makes me sound Puritan, but somewhere, Zombie de Sade plans hisrevenge against this assault on obscenity.

As a theological trap, it's a Catch-22: a movie so bad it makes youwant to butcher its creators, then kills you with boredom and torturesyou in the afterlife for those murderous thoughts it made you think.If the Easter Bunny watched this, he would crack all his eggs andretire to the Himalayas.

This pile is so bad it doesn't even have the balls to go all the waywith its Terrible Movie Pride Parade. Instead, mindlessly copying fromother teen comedies like the world's saddest chimp, Collegegoes for a "Things fall apart, friends fight, friends make up, guyswin girls, hooray for everything" last act so cynically executed allyou can do is laugh, go home, then build a raft out of Kleenex boxesand forsaken hopes and wait for your river of tears to sweep you outto sea.

I'd call for the heads of Callahan, Ellison, and Hagen to be mountedhigh on Hollywood's gate, but living with themselves is a punishmentsecond only to watching their movie.

Grade: F