"Old School" is a hysterical warning cry to a generation weary of adult responsibilities.
Old School: Unrated (2003, HD-DVD)
Directors: Todd Phillips
Producers: Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock
Writers: Court Crandall, Todd Phillips and Scot Armstrong
Features: * Commentary * Featurettes * Deleted Scenes * Outtakes * Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus
Mitch Martin...Luke Wilson
BJ man...Andy Dick
Portions of this HD-DVD review were taken from Randy's review of "Old School."
When the going gets tough, the tough give up and retreat into their late adolescence. That appears to be the theme of "Old School," a funny, new movie directed by Todd Phillips of "Road Trip" fame. Luke Wilson plays Mitch Martin, a happily engaged man, until he catches his fiance, Heidi (Juliette Lewis) getting ready to engage in an orgy. Frank (Will Ferrell) is a recent newlywed, despite repeated warnings by veteran married man, Beanie (Vince Vaughn), that he will regret married life. All three of these characters are disillusioned with married life and are only too happy to turn Mitch's new single digs into a fraternity house that will be one big party. Beanie, who owns a chain of stereo stores, has the necessary cash and equipment to keep the parties going. Soon Mitch finds himself being called the "Godfather" of all party animals while Beanie is happy to stay in the background and leer at the young women passing through. Frank, who in his younger days was called, "Frank the Tank," is soon swallowed up in the party life, reclaiming his nickname and abandoning his new wife. Even co-workers, fed up with their adult lives, approach Mitch about being let into this new fraternity.
Luke Wilson is overshadowed by Will Ferrell's "Frank the Tank." Wilson is once again reduced to playing the straight man as he was in "The Royal Tenenbaums," which also starred his more famous brother, Owen Wilson. Ferrell's Frank steals the screen whenever he can. At one point during the film he meets an animal control man played by Seann William Scott ("Road Trip") at Beanie's son's birthday party. Somehow Frank accidentally shoots himself with a tranquilizer gun and ends the party in a grand fashion while paying homage to the underwater pool sequence in "The Graduate." In a funeral scene, Will Ferrell dominates again by singing a touching version of Kansas' song, "Dust In The Wind." Vince Vaughn makes Beanie a quiet standout simply by attempting to fade into the background with his eyes extending into the foreground.
This is Todd Phillip's second attempt to make his own "Animal House." His other attempt was "Road Trip." In the classic, "Animal House," the phrase "road trip," was the battle cry of the original bad boys from hell when they needed a break from their local college and would pile into a car to create havoc elsewhere. "Old School" has a high school girl sleeping with an older guy, a performance by Snoop Dog, the dean making the fraternity's expulsion his goal in life, female nudity and a fat black guy. "Animal House," had a junior high girl sleeping with an older guy, a performance by Otis Day and the Knights, the dean making the fraternity's expulsion his goal in life, female nudity and a fat white guy, Flounder.
The main difference is "Old School" is not as funny as "Animal House," so it's back to the drawing board for Todd Phillips. One of the chief failings, is Todd Phillips' not being able to capture the total lack of social responsibility that "Animal House" had. In the beginning of "Old School," as the fraternity is being formed, Beanie, emphasizes that it will stand for nothing, but party time and will not be socially viable for the community. This sounds fine, but when Beanie is offered sex by a college girl he suddenly remembers he is married and turns her down. Mitch is also ignoring the fraternity's party code by trying to get into a serious relationship with a former high school infatuation, Nicole (Ellen Pompeo) who has a young daughter. Even Frank the Tank makes a half hearted reconciliatory move on his wife. This vacillation on the director's part leads to uneven humor that slows down what could have been much funnier scenes.
Regardless, this movie is still funnier than most out right now. If you liked "Road Trip," you should like this movie as well.
R.L. Shaffer's take on "Old School."
In many ways, Randy's review is completely accurate about "Old School." It is, on the whole, trying to vie for the position of this generations "Animal House." And in a lot of ways, it succeeds. But even more than that, the film is about the irony of adult responsibility. It's about living the good life while balancing living a responsible life. Only Ferrel's 'Frank the Tank' is given a non-responsible resolution suggesting that some of us are meant for maturity and perhaps some are not.
In more ways that one might think, the film is really geared towards the older crowd--men and women who loved "Animal House" and yearn to still act like that. It's a hysterical warning cry to a generation weary of adult responsibilities.
Film Report Card:
As entertainment: B+
As a film: B
This is a review of the HD-DVD version of "Old School."
Paramount presents "Old School" on HD-DVD in 1.85:1 widescreen, encoded in 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 video on a HD-30 dual-layer disc. I'm a pretty big fan of AVC encodes as I've found them to be more pristine and sharper than VC-1 encodes, on the whole. And while this film wouldn't initially seem like it would have a great transfer, shockingly, it does. The film is sharp with solid color balance and vibrant textures. The differences between this release and the original 2003 DVD are noticeable, but not by much as the original DVD looked pretty good as well. Still, the HD-DVD has the slight edge over the DVD as image detail is more finely presented. A great transfer for a film that honestly didn't need one.
Paramount gives fans a Dolby Digital 5.1 Plus track. There's not too much of a difference between this track and original Dolby Digital 5.1 track found on the original DVD. The biggest difference is that it's noticeably more clearer and a bit louder, but for most purposes the track seemed virtually identical to the original.
Paramount has thankfully ported over all of the original DVD's fun filled special features for fans to once again peruse. I won't go into too much detail about these as most fans have already given this a spin, but if you haven't I'd suggest watching all of the deleted material and the hilarious commentary track.
Special features include, an audio commentary with the cast and crew, several deleted scenes, an EPK featurette, outtakes and bloopers and an "Inside the Actor's Studio" spoof with Ferrell once again doing James Lipton (a must watch).
There's really nothing here, but the film's theatrical trailer is presented in high definition. It would have been nice to see both the Unrated cut and Theatrical cut on one disc. Oh well.
A grand collection of soon-to-be uber famous comedy stars make this a must watch for comedy fans. The HD-DVD is a must own if you love the movie and don't already have a copy of it. So head out to the store and pick this disc up. And "bring your green hat."
HD-DVD Report Card:
HD Content: N/A
Overall Value: B
On HD-DVD: November 27th, 2007
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----R. L. Shaffer