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Old School (15)

Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: Two

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Bloopers and outtakes; 'Inside The Actors Studio' spoof; Deleted scenes; Welcome To Old School - Now Get Undressed; Nominations and Awards - So Did We Win Anything?

FROM the team behind Road Trip comes yet another of those raucous campus comedies, about sex, booze and coming-of-age, that attempts to gain mileage by gearing itself towards an older age group.

Old School hangs out with a trio of thirtysomething buddies, who attempt to recapture the outrageous, irrepressible fun of their college years by starting their own off-campus fraternity.

Heading it is Luke Wilson’s Mitch, recently back on the bachelor trail after coming home and finding his girlfriend in the middle of sex party with two complete strangers.

Goaded by his best buddies, Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank (Will Ferrell), Mitch becomes an icon of irresponsibility to the nearby college students, throwing party after wild party, and prank after prank, while trying to get his life back in order and retain some semblance of normality.

Yet as keen as he is to find some romantic stability, both Beanie and Frank use Mitch as an escape route from their own frustrations, epitomised by their marriages and the newfound responsibility that type of commitment brings.

For the most part, Old School succeeds in being a laugh-out-loud comedy, fuelled by all-manner of bad taste jokes and crass situations, the like of which have been seen many times before, but which succeed because of the charisma of the main players.

Think Animal House crossed with the likes of Road Trip and American Pie, and you’ll know what to expect, with nothing new really being added to the overworked genre.

Credit, therefore, must go to the central trio, for helping to turn something fairly routine, into one of the funnier gross-out efforts in recent memory, breathing new life into an ailing formula along the way.

The combined charm of the trio is such that audiences are likely to warm to their boyish endeavours, as they strive to return to the care-free existence of days gone by, while invoking the wrath of Jeremy Piven’s uptight university dean.

Moments to savour, therefore, include a KY wrestling match, a tranquilliser gun accident and Frank the Tank’s return to the booze, as well as Vaughn’s constant attempts to shield his children from ‘bad words’, while counselling his buddies in the ways of bachelor-dom.

Vaughn, especially, is good value as the smooth-talking father who seizes the opportunity to let his hair down, while the larger-than-life Ferrell (a Saturday Night Live veteran) is quite simply hilarious as the former hellraiser, struggling to banish his former demons.

Wilson, too, lends proceedings a strong emotional grounding, exuding the type of bewildered charisma he exhibited in The Royal Tenenbaums.

With cameos from the likes of 24’s Elisha Cuthbert and Road Trip’s Seann William Scott, this is a blast from start to finish, which makes you yearn for those innocent days of old, devoid of the monotony of that old 9 to 5 routine.


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