Directed By: Paul Weitz

Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen, Lily Tomlin, Wallace Shawn, Nat Wolff, and Gloria Reuben

From the day I heard about it, I was destined to see Tina Fey's latest comedy Admission, a film shot at my alma mater Princeton University.  It's a movie that satirizes the university's admissions process in which a random few get highly coveted acceptance letters.  Director Paul Weitz clearly has a bull’s-eye fixed on the orange bubble and other Ivy League institutions.  I just wish he had made a good movie.  Regardless, Admission takes me back to the Blair Arch, Firestone Library, and many other familiar sights on that beautiful campus in central New Jersey.

Clarence (Wallace Shawn), the director of admissions at Princeton University, is retiring next year.  His two best admissions representatives Portia (Fey) and Corinne (Gloria Reuben) are vying for the top spot at West College.  While Corinne is laser-focused on that next big step in her career, Portia gets distracted when Mark (Michael Sheen), her boyfriend of ten years, dumps her and tells her he's having twins with a Virginia Woolf scholar who just joined the faculty.  Portia's world gets even more topsy-turvy when John Pressman (Paul Rudd), an old classmate from Dartmouth, gives her a call and tells her all about the son she never knew, a high school senior named Jeremiah Balakian (Nat Wolff) who just happens to be applying to Princeton this year.

Admission leaves a lot to be desired.  This college-themed comedy-drama offers very little humor.  It's too heavy on failed attempts at comedy and irrelevant melodrama.  Director Paul Weitz, the creative force behind films like Little Fockers, misses the mark yet again.  Unfortunately, it's hitting a little too close to home right now, and that’s just not acceptable.

The primary reason that Admission doesn't get the job done is that the outrageous jokes fall flat in this otherwise mellow comedy.  They just don't work.  For whatever reason, Weitz is not able to set up comedic arcs in a way that connects with the audience.  He misses plenty of opportunities to deliver big laughs because of it.  When you have two similar stars like Tina Fey and Paul Rudd offering understated dry humor that certainly doesn't help the situation.  Dry humor and college admissions don't exactly go together.  This all makes for one really stale comedy.

The other issue plaguing Admission is that there's too much melodrama.  Fey's Portia has a shattered relationship, parental problems, and daddy issues.  That's too much drama for a movie where the makers are trying to tell a joke or two in the process.   Because Weitz spends so much time developing the narratives for each of the sub-plots related to Portia's many problems, he throws off the happy balance of this comedy-drama.  Basically, there's too much drama and not enough comedy, which makes the pronounced lack of humor so much worse.

I thought I might have a little bias in assessing Admission and giving it a fair rating.  It's a film shot at the orange bubble loaded with shots of places that fuel a lot of personal memories.  Paul Weitz, Tina Fey, and Paul Rudd made my life as a reviewer easier though.  I can be a little less biased with a downright unfunny comedy like this.  While Lily Tomlin's zany character Susannah does offer some minor humor, that's not enough.  Admission gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few 7 and 7s with this one.