Mitch (Luke Wilson) wakes up one day to find himself in his mid 30s in a dead end job and a dead end relationship, which slams headlong into the dead end when he returns early from a business trip to find there is far more action going on his home when he is not in it.
Beanie (Vince Vaughn) is a very successful business owner with an adoring wife and a couple kids. He thinks that his ‘standard adult existence’ totally blows and envies his footloose and fancy free buddies.
Frank (Will Ferrell) is newly married with absolutely no idea that his life is effectively over…
Newly single Mitch moves into a spacious home adjacent to a nearby university campus. It is an ideal party house, a fact Beanie and Frank both insist they exploit, which they do in a no holds barred shindig that rivals anything in the execrable Project X, bringing the unwelcome attention of the Dean of the university, who also happens to know the lads from their school days. This is not a good thing.
The wacky level tops eleven when the trio find a loophole that enables them to keep the cool party house by starting a fraternity filled with good natured losers, desperate adults and a grab bag of larger than life personalities. (Actually not really, aside from the three leads you would be hard pressed to remember any of the pledges after the film ends as any more than ‘the old guy’, ‘the fat guy’ or ‘the frizzy haired guy’.) Mitch of course becomes the ‘Godfather’, and much to his chagrin he finds himself fawned over and bowed to at the most inopportune and unlikely moments.
And hilarity – of course – ensues…
Actually it kinda does, for even though Old School lazily ticks off every frathouse cliché in the book at least it manages to squeeze some jokes and funny moments in there, even while ripping from other classics of the genre including Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds and Stripes.
Old School is definitely a better film than any film featuring any of the three leads since – Dodgeball and Couple’s Retreat for Vaughn, Ferrell’s laundry list of same characters in different sports that I was tired of before they started, and Luke Wilson’s… wait is Luke Wilson still alive? But here they are at the modest peak of their likability and comedic powers. Ferrell’s shtick hadn’t outstayed it’s welcome (that moment would come with Anchorman), Vaughn enjoys his last milliseconds of comedic relevance and Wilson is just as goofy looking and charisma free as ever.
Ellen Pompeo shows up as the obligatory love interest and Jeremy Piven plays the snivelly Dean (a good decision as he is so very easy to hate).
There is no comedy gold mined in Old School, but many prospectors will at least find enough worth to occupy their time, and it is blessed with that staple of adult comedy –nubile nearly nude females…
…females of all genders.
Final Rating – 7 / 10. Unlikely coincidences and unfortunate timing for all. Ladies and Gents, I bring you… mostly decent comedy.