Freshman Orientation

2007, Movie, R, 92 mins

Review

FRESHMAN ORIENTATION | HOME OF PHOBIA
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First-time writer-director Ryan Shiraki's crude, gross comedy of campus sexual errors might push boundaries better were it not so painfully unfunny.

High-school horndog Clay Adams (Sam Huntington) — a self-proclaimed "B student from Wisconsin" — figures that college is going to be one vast buffet of sexual opportunities, his last chance to have some serious fun before he settles into the humdrum middle-class life that awaits him. But to his dismay, scoring with coeds proves harder than he imagined: Who knew college babes had standards? Fortunately, former prom queen Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday), whose educational future rests on the benevolence of her drunk, divorced and desperate mom's old sorority, has just been tasked with fulfilling a venerable initiation rite: The pledges are all assigned to seduce and dump a "freak" — someone queen bee Serena (Jud Tylor) deems unworthy of her lovely sorority sisters. So good Jewish girl Jessica (an uncharacteristically coarse Heather Matarazzo, affecting a truly ghastly Lawn-Gyland accent) must seduce a Muslim man (Jagan Gupta), Amanda has to make a gay guy fall for her, and so on. Fortunately, Amanda gets the mistaken impression that Clay is gay, and he — recognizing a golden opportunity to get next to an out-of-his-league blonde — plays along. Wack-off… sorry, wacky complications ensue, culminating in Clay's "no-means-no" run-in with A-gay Sherman Jessop (Jeffrey Muller), which is mistaken for campus gay-bashing and incites a near-riot by the campus' militant LGBT population.

To Shiraki's credit, he's an equal-opportunity offender: From militant African-American lesbians to drunks, the handicapped and sorority bitches with secret lusts, everyone takes his or her lumps. But that doesn't mean the film is funny, charming or particularly perceptive about the often bewildering transition from a familiar, insular high-school environment to the hurly-burly of a racially, politically and sexually diverse college campus. The only bright spot is John Goodman as an aging queen who slings drinks at the local gay bar and takes fledgling "gay Clay" under his wing — if only he had more screentime. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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