Directed by Deb Hagan. Starring Drake Bell, Kevin Covais, Andrew Caldwell, Haley Bennett, Nick Zano, Gary Owen, Ryan Pinkston, Zach Cregger, Verne Troyer. (2008, R, 94 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Sept. 5, 2008
I have lived in Austin for the better part of my life and resided not 50 feet shy of Sixth Street, Austin's increasingly feral nightlife epicenter-cum-love pit/vomitorium, for the worse part of a decade. Actually, it's kinda fun: Whenever we feel our voyeuristic tendencies kicking in, my friends and I can enjoy a virtually invisible second-story alley view of young (and not-so-young) Austin in all its hedonistic overload, from cringe-worthy quick lubes atop filthy Downtown Dumpsters to the crazed-weasel consumption of pretty much every controlled substance this side of Hunter S. Thompson's Las Vegas. Fear and loathing? Sometimes, sure, but mostly we just lob water balloons at the edgier, crackier, tweak-binger types, and they flee (stagger, shamble, collapse) in terror from what appears to be a wrathful deity with a totally retarded sense of humor. Mostly. Speaking of totally retarded senses of humor, director Hagan and screenwriters Dan Callahan and Adam Ellison have scored big-time in the Suckiest Rip-Off of Superbad Ever department with their excruciatingly unfunny debut feature, College, a film so persistently loud and annoying that it single-handedly makes the case for drugging yourself with a roofie, Nembutal, and GHB cocktail (add bitters to taste) prior to entering the theatre. High school buddies Kevin, Carter, and Morris (Bell, Caldwell, and Covais playing the "normal," "fat," and "nerd" archetypes) head off to explore the fabled land of beer, babes, and body shots – aka Fieldmont University, aka FU. Gawking at bare-boobied hotties and egging one another on with plenty of uninspiredly homophobic anti-humor, the hormone-addled trio falls under the spell of evil frat-thing Teague (Zano), who subjects them to a variety of creative hazings after he discovers that Kevin and his own bang du jour have hit it off. Only National Lampoon's Van Wilder can save them now, but, sadly for Ryan Reynolds fans, he's definitely, maybe busy on the back nines, smokin' aces and waiting for a proposal. Ditto that for Bluto Blutarski and any vengeful nerds anywhere. College, which isn't like any college I've ever enrolled in or been kicked out of (more than you'd think, I'd wager), mines the classics (National Lampoon's Animal House), the underrated (PCU), the forgotten (Up the Academy), and everything Apatow and comes up with all the comic gold of a barbed-wire condom. The film's only intriguing aspect ("asspect"?) can be found within the steady stream of midgrade queer-fear that runs throughout, which is countervailed by images of naked male buttocks; hirsute, bearish fraternity homunculi; and dick jokes to beat the band. To paraphrase NatLamp, that's not funny, dude; that's gay.