Cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin, Nat Wolff, Gloria Reuben
Running time: 108mins
The lowdown: 30 Rock comedy queen Tina Fey and the ever-affable Paul Rudd head up this likeable romantic drama from About A Boy director Paul Weitz. Fey is Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer whose routine life gets spun upside down when she meets Rudd’s John Pressman, a former college classmate now running an offbeat school. Fizzy chemistry from the leads gets quality support from an engaging cast including Michael Sheen, Wallace Shawn and Lily Tomlin.
The full verdict: Despite the presence of comedy queen Tina Fey and Judd Apatow muse Paul Rudd, Admission is less romcom than (to use an ugly word) romdram, with cosy humour provided by Michael Sheen as Portia’s rubber-spined cheat of a boyfriend and Lily Tomlin as her self-obsessed feminist icon mum.
A soft-centred midlife crisis movie, the bulk of the plot is dedicated to Portia’s quest to discover if Jeremiah (Wolff), a brilliant student at John’s school, is the son she gave up for adoption years earlier, and her attempts to beat the notoriously tough admissions policy and get the kid into the Ivy League university.
A perfectly serviceable, star-led romance, Admission is also proof that some actors are just fun to watch in anything (which here extends to the supporting cast as well as the leads). Placing it firmly in the three star bracket, filed under “Nice”.
But, “nice” was never a word to describe Fey’s groundbreaking work on 30 Rock. This leaves a nagging doubt that had the film stuck closer to the source novel’s focus on the ruthlessness of the Ivy League selection process, it may have some of the bite that makes 30 Rock a classic of its kind.
But, overall undeserving of its (at time of writing) 5.3 grade point average on the IMDB; as an undemanding way to spend an evening, this is a pass.