When it comes to school spirit, you've got to give the makers of the locally shot teen comedy "College" an A. After all, anyone with chutzpah enough to invoke the name of campus comedy classic "Animal House" in their ad campaign deserves nothing less.
Unfortunately, in pretty much every other subject - execution, cleverness, originality -- "College" is a solid D-plus student. It's easy to that the influence of "Animal House" on "College. But recapturing the magic found in the hallowed halls of Faber College apparently isn't quite as easy as it might seem.
Though the remedial "College" isn't without its laughs, as well as a dash of half-hearted sincerity, they're mostly cheap ones, as the script relies more on f-bombs, scenes of underage drinking and rampant toplessness than it does genuine cleverness. We've done the whole classless college comedy before, many times. Plot : Three high school buddies make a weekend visit to a college campus, where they get a first-hand dose of frat life.
What works : Former "American Idol" contestant Kevin Covais is surprisingly good, and it's fun to watch for all the local scenery in the New Orleans-shot film. What doesn't : Relying on underage drinking and rampant toplessness instead of genuine humor, it's not nearly clever enough to be memorable.
Director : Deb Hagen. Running time : 1 hour 34 minutes. Rating : R for pervasive crude and sexual content, nudity, language, drug and alcohol abuse. In the film, three high school schlubs - played by Drake Bell, Andrew Caldwell and Kevin Covais -- take a weekend trip to visit the fictional Fieldmont University. That's right: FU. Their intentions aren't so much to become acquainted with the school as they are to become acquainted with its night life, which they do with some help from the sadistic - and often homo-erotic - antics of a hard-partying fraternity.
These are the kinds of guys who think a successful hazing activity is one that ends up with a pledge in a body cast, and who hire strippers and Verne Troyer to spice their parties up. OK, so partying with Troyer would actually be pretty cool.
Between the keg-stands and whippets, Bell, Caldwell and Covais endure endless abuse from a frat leader, a Johnny Knoxville-look-alike who can't stand the fact that his favorite sorority skirt favors one of the newcomers more than him. Naturally, the threesome eventually have enough of the abuse though not nearly as quickly as you'd think three normal teens would and devise a scheme to give the frat boys a taste of their own beer foam. Think "Revenge of the Nerds. But even then, that big payoff isn't satisfying enough. Sure, we get to see a guy glued to a toilet seat, but other than that it's a pretty unimaginative come-uppance.
And that pretty much sums up "College" as a whole: entertaining in spots, but thoroughly average in most respects. Bell, who proved his comic chops as half of Nickelodeon's teen comedy duo "Drake and Josh," is underused as a straight man here. Caldwell, whom director Hagen describes as a young Chris Farley, does have an admirable comic fearlessness, but he's too much of a bully to capture the late, great "SNL" heavyweight's teddy-bear innocence, which was a large part of Farley's appeal.
Covais, on the other hand, is something of a revelation here. Dubbed "Chicken Little" during his stint on "American Idol," not only does he display solid acting skills in "College," but also no small amount of bravery, embracing his character's role as an ubergeek. At very least, movie-goers might enjoy watching for local scenery, of which there is plenty. See box below.
And it might also help take movie-goers' minds off their real-world worries as a menacing Hurricane Gustav swirls and churns in the Gulf.
Filmed in New Orleans in , the campus comedy "College" is chock-full of images that will be familiar to local movie-goers. Here's a sampling. Feel free to add your own in the "comments section.
Abita also gets a shout-out in the "thanks to" portion of the credits. Lopez, can be seen. Toggle navigation. Kevin Covais pays for partying heartily in 'College. View comments. Follow Us.