starring Tom Green, Jason Lee, Dennis Farina and Chris Penn
Stealing Harvard is bad, a limp slice of baloney, a lifeless, floppy penis of a movie. If it was on TV, you'd change the channel. If it was a rented video, you'd pop it out and put in whatever else you'd rented. If you're seeing it in the theatre cuz it's free and besides you have to review it, well, then you just sit there, yawning, picking at your popcorn, poking your girlfriend, watching the movie play out its lunkheaded beats, waiting to be free.
It's depressing, is what it is, especially when you consider that there's some actual talent in this film. Jason Lee has been pretty good in some other movies as a whiny, I-can't-belive-this shit straight man. Dennis Farina is a funny guy, hilarious in Get Shorty or Snatch. Chris Penn, man, he was great in Reservoir Dogs.
And, of course, there's Tom Green. People either hate or like him, but he's got undeniable spastic energy that always gets a reaction. Always except for this movie, that is; here he's had his testicles snipped off, and not in a funny testicular cancer kind of way, but in a there's-just-nothing-he-can-do kind of way.
Bruce McCullough of Kids in the Hall directed this thing, and we want to like it, want to believe there's something there, the way we'd want to like something in the 10-minute video a buddy made. But we can't. We just can't. Sorry, Bruce.
It's clear about ten minutes in what kind of non-comedy is in store. After ten minutes, you've seen enough setup, enough lunken pacing, enough sub-bad-sitcom gaggery to know it's not gonna get any better. You've seen the clunky, drawn-out poo that this film offers in place of comedy scenes, seen the unfunny supporting characters, glimpsed the film's sagging, jelly-like structure. All that's left is to sigh and hope there's at least some tits. There aren't.
Stealing Harvard is the name of the film; this implies some goofy, National Lampoon college type humor. That implication is a lie. Jason Lee plays a guy with a girlfriend and a niece, and he's just about to spend $30,000 on a down payment on a house for the girlfriend when he finds out that his niece just got accepted into Harvard, so now, because of an off-handed promise he made, Lee has to come up with the money to pay her tuition. The movie could just as easily have been called "Stealing $30,000", cuz they never get anywhere close to Harvard.
Instead, Lee and Tom Green spend fifteen hours of your time lumping around, unfunnily trying to rip off 30 grand. The actors look tired, defeated. There's no rhyme or reason to the action, no development of a comedy idea, no sense of growing fun that one typically associates with a comedy. There's just the clunk, clunk, clunk of scene after scene, the flicker of hope when another good actor appears on screen, the crashing sadness when you realize he's just as trapped as all the others. Incredibly, the film even stops the "fun" every so often for contemptible scenes in which we're suddenly supposed to actually *care" and *get serious* about these characters. Brutal.
Your typical bad comedy is a mess, a sloppy mishmash of junk with maybe
a few funny bits here and there. This is the same, except without the maybe
funny bits. No chuckles, no smiles, no smirks; the best you'll get out
of Stealing Harvard is maybe a puff of air from one nostril when somebody
talks about "spooning", and that's it. Stay the hell away.