In OLD SCHOOL, several grown men ranging from ages 30 to 89 try to create an unofficial fraternity on a local college campus. Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn play the ringleaders. Although they are not students, the actual student body can come over and party without the prying eyes of university security or the stereotypical out-of-touch university dean. As the story progresses, the realities of their lifestyles catch up to them, and they must defend their on-campus existence on legal and collegiate grounds. This is met with disastrous and zany results.
Many movies are not art, and in that vein, it is probably safe to say this film will not be reviewed at Cannes. In fact, it will not likely come anywhere near France. Basically what the creators of OLD SCHOOL did was to take a 25-year-old script (ANIMAL HOUSE, 1978) and make it into a 21st-century version. It feels as though they rewrote and rewrote until they had something they could call their own. It is amazing how similar it is to the John Belushi classic.
For instance, OLD SCHOOL has the creepy “un-hip” University Dean who, just like ANIMAL HOUSE’s dean, is always trying to shut the frat down. Audiences rooted for him to fall. There are numerous similarities to ANIMAL HOUSE characters such as John Blutarsky and Flounder. Even certain ANIMAL HOUSE scenes are barely copied, like the famous, “Okay boys, we’re all losers, and the Dean’s going to shut us down, so what are we going to do?” scene. Also, just like the ’70’s film, the pledges and brothers are depressed, and the frat president gives a victorious locker room speech that makes everyone run into the streets revved up to save the fraternity. . . etc., etc., etc.
The writing and casting are successful, from a Hollywood standpoint, in that Will Farrell steals the movie playing the bumbling fool. His antics caused deafening laughter in the theater, and a couple of people actually slipped off the edge of their seats, laughing. Many view Farrell as the new master of physical, slapstick humor.
Why, however, does sidesplitting laughter have to be accompanied by horrendous language and sexual content, as well as a deplorable worldview? In this movie, the recently married Will Farrell loses his wife over his involvement in the fraternity. In fact, while he is standing at the altar, one of his already married groomsmen tries emphatically to get him not to marry, just as the bride-to-be approaches. Scatological humor includes a “K.Y. Jelly” wrestling match that causes an elderly man to die of a heart attack. Ick!
Other sexual content includes female upper frontal nudity and full frontal made nudity from far off. Also, a homosexual male, using carrots and cucumbers as visual aids, offers an oral sex class to local housewives. Another serious “ick!”
As for redemptive elements . . . still scratching head . . . ah, yes. . . . One of the fraternity founders, who happens to be the most bitter anti-marriage character in the movie, finds
himself alone with a college girl who tries to seduce him. He stops her, holds his left hand up to show the ring and says, “Hey, this isn’t cool. I’m married. I can’t do this.” Perhaps this was done for the censors, who knows?
In a day when the Lord seems to be cleaning up His bride and bringing her out of the Western Christian party mentality and into a sense of much-needed sobriety, movies like OLD SCHOOL seem even more crass, value-less and sad than ever. God, help our children!
Please address your comments to:
David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg & Steven Spielberg
1000 Flower Street
Glendale, CA 91201
Phone: (818) 695-5000
SUMMARY: In OLD SCHOOL three men are disenchanted with life and try to recapture their college days by creating an unofficial fraternity on a local college campus. Besides some well-timed jokes, there is almost nothing worthwhile or redemptive in this extremely vulgar ANIMAL HOUSE re-write.
(PaPaPa, Ro, Cap, HoHo, LLL, V, SSS, NN, AAA, D, MMM) Hedonistic worldview with glorification of alcohol, unbridled debauchery, and moral relativism, and some Romantic elements, some pro-capitalism elements and strong homosexual references; 38 obscenities, seven strong profanities, 11 light profanities, "gross-out" humor, and scatological humor; strong slapstick violence including reckless driving, fighting, pratfalls, man shoots himself in neck with tranquilizer gun, and car goes over bridge and explodes after landing on fisherman; strong sexual content includes cohabitation, live-in girlfriend cheats on boyfriend, implied sex with underage girl, porno tape fornication depicted, references to oral sex, homosexual themes and homosexual humor, elderly man drops dead after seeing naked women, and anti-marriage statements throughout; upper female nudity, rear male nudity and long shot of male streaker's genitals; excessive alcohol abuse; smoking; and lots of miscellaneous immorality including disrespect of authority figures and reckless behavior.