College

2008, Movie, R, 94 mins

Review

COLLEGE
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Whereas Josh Peck managed to make an impressive transition to more adult, big-screen fare with 2008's THE WACKNESS, Drake Bell, his counterpart of Nickelodeon's popular Drake & Josh hasn't fared as well. First SUPERHERO MOVIE, now this: An ugly, unfunny frat comedy about a trio of high-school boys who endure the worst weekend of their lives at the college of their choice.

Dumped by his evil girlfriend (Alona Tal) because she thinks he's a boring loser who doesn't know how to have a good time, high-school senior Kevin Brewer (Bell) is determined to make the most of the weekend he and his two friends -- geeky physics whiz Morris Hooper (American Idol's Kevin Covais), obese and obnoxious Carter Scott (Andrew Caldwell) -- are about to spend at Fairmont University. Morris is scheduled for a scholarship interview with Fairmont's Dean Chandler (Wallace Merck), Kevin is interesting in taking a tour around the school he'll probably be attending in the fall and Carter just wants to see if all those crazy stories he's heard about social life at Fairmont are true. But most of all, Kevin wants to prove to his ex that he does indeed know how to party, even if it kills him. And it very nearly does. When the dorm room they're supposed to share for the weekend turns out to be inhabited by a chronic masturbator, Carter suggests they try bunking at the Beta Phi Theta house where his cousin once lived when he was a student. At first the brothers of Beta Phi, led by sadistic tool Teague (Nick Zano), laugh them off the premises, until they realize that these three eager high-school boys might be of some use. Beta Phi's shenanigans have gotten so out of control that the entire house has been put on probation, and probation means no more pledges until they all shape up. So having three "pre-frosh" prospective students to use and abuse for the weekend might come in handy. Teague delights in humiliating the boys -- his specialty appears to be instilling homosexual panic -- but his persecution gets personal (and frankly, illegal) when he realizes that his own girlfriend (Haley Bennett) is falling for Kevin.

No one expects a frat-house comedy to be clean, but there's an obnoxious crudity to this terrible misfire whole thing that leaves you feeling splattered and dirty by the time the inevitable over-the-credits blooper reel rolls (Caldwell's Carter is particularly offensive and unfunny). Worse, no one seems to be having much fun, least of all first-time feature director Deb Hagan; the frat parties in particular feel perfunctory and listless. Not so the scene in which the boys are forced to drink body shot out of every orifice of one hairy Beta Phi, however. That greasy, sweaty montage looks exactly like a scene out of William Friedkin's CRUISING, which says a lot about where this movie's head is at. leave a comment --Ken Fox

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