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'Old School'

Friday, February 21, 2003

By Barbara Vancheri, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

"Old School" lets Will Ferrell do something that would have been verboten even on the increasingly raunchy "Saturday Night Live." Make fun of George W. Bush or Alex Trebek or James Lipton? Been there, done all that -- very well.

 
 
'Old School'

RATING: R for some strong sexual content, nudity and language

STARRING: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn

DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

WEB SITE: www.oldschool
themovie.com

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No, "Old School" allows him to run naked (without apparent use of body double) through the streets. His character is reverting to his college days when he was Frank the Tank, a man who could guzzle beer, streak through the quad and par-tee with the best of them.

Now, Frank is about to join a fraternity with his equally long-in-the-tooth buddies, a real estate lawyer named Mitch (Luke Wilson), who just left his cheating girlfriend, and Beanie (Vince Vaughn), the wealthy owner of a chain of stores who has a wife, children and a hankering to return to his frat days and ways. Starting a fraternity is a way for Mitch to keep his rental house when a vengeful college dean (a nerdy Jeremy Piven) rezones it for campus use.

"Old School" is from the people behind "Road Trip," including director-writer Todd Phillips. He won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival for his documentary "Frat House," which was to air on HBO until questions were raised about its authenticity.

This comedy is not without a few funny moments, largely due to Ferrell, the occasional line from Vaughn and the presence of Patrick Cranshaw as the nearly 89-year-old pledge named Blue. But those laughs, plus a surprise cameo, are overshadowed by juvenile attempts at "Animal House" humor: drinking, female wrestling, streaking, cinder blocks tied to genitalia, accidents with said cinder blocks and what we'll call love lessons involving women and vegetables.

Frat boys will be frat boys, whether they're 20 or 30. Old school? Old story.


Barbara Vancheri can be reached at bvancheri@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1632.

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