Austin Film Festival: 'Tenure'
Luke Wilson’s performance is as warm as a cardigan sweater.
By Belinda Acosta,
8:24AM, Mon. Oct. 26, 2009
Stuck in a third rate college where he really has no interest in being, Professor Charlie Thurber (Luke Wilson) is doing his best to win the tenure race.
While his pretentious colleagues, and his father (a one-time professor at Yale University) make him feel inferior because of his inability to publish, what the audience knows about Charlie is that he’s a good friend, a good guy, and more importantly, a good teacher. Wilson’s performance is as warm as a cardigan sweater. So, when a perky new hire (Gretchen Mol) threatens Charlie’s already shaky position, instead of swerving into high anxiety Wilson plays it close to the chest. A good choice, given that David Koechner (TV’s Numb3rs), as Charlie’s friend and colleague who is obsessed with proving the existence of Big Foot and get rich quick schemes, brings about as much wackiness as Tenure needs. The even-handedness of the film (directed by Mike Million) is part of its charm. And while it’s clear what’s coming long before the end of the film, the journey to the obvious conclusion is no less satisfying.
Tenure screens Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 7pm, Regal Arbor.