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DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS

SYNOPSIS:
When Josh (Tom Everett Scott) arrives at Daleman College, he plans to devote his time to one thing: study. His roommate Cooper (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), on the other hand, just wants to get stoned, have sex and party all night. Soon Josh is won over to Cooper’s way of thinking...and both of them are on the verge of failing the year and being forced to leave. But then, by chance, the pair find out about an obscure clause in the college rulebook: any student whose roommate commits suicide will automatically receive top marks for the semester. Luckily, Josh and Cooper happen to have a spare room available. So they set off to find the most suicidal student in the university, and persuade him to move in...

"Finally, it looks like the teen movie is set to make a full-scale comeback – along with its blood brother, the 'campus comedy.' Centering on a dorky hero and his pot-smoking 'party animal' buddy, Dead Man On Campus has many of the classic features of this very '80s genre, especially in its mix of emotionally painful situations with bizarre cartoonish gags (as with the presentation of Cooper's monstrous father, 'the toilet-cleaning clown'). Of course, these days even a supposedly lowbrow comedy (see There's Something About Mary) has to be a little bit self-conscious, a little bit post-feminist, even a little bit politically correct. So now, for example, the girlfriend figure is a switched-on creative-writing major rather than a bimbo; in practice, this doesn't make her any less marginal, since sex has been sidelined in favour of a modish 'black comedy' plot. Actually the film seems somewhat uncomfortable with its amoral premise, steering clear of the bleaker possibilities without being able to avoid an uneasy, equivocal tone. Yet the boys' quest for potential suicides gives rise to many of the funniest moments, with a parade of weirdos combining stereotypes old and new: a freaked-out wild man, a geeky Internet conspiracy buff, and a surly Brit wanna-be rock star (played by Australian actor Corey Page with some Nick Cave inflections). Ultimately the film works well on a modest, generic scale that's surprisingly rare now in Hollywood, where almost every release has to be hyped as a big, earth- shattering Event. Dead Man On Campus is nothing of the sort, but it's still a hopeful sign of trends to come."
Jake Wilson

"This is ninety minutes of your life that could be better spent because it disappears into a black hole without a trace during Dead Man On Campus. This is a dull re-iteration of the odd-couple theme and makes no cohesive attempt at storytelling. The characters are seemingly schizophrenic and without direction and the film looks like it had about seven different directors in varying levels of consciousness. Nothing happens for a very long time and it's two saving graces are the funky soundtrack and the one clever bit of writing, a plot twist involving one of Josh and Cooper's marked men. This film goes nowhere and never manages more than a wry smile when the intention, I think, is to be a kind of modern-day Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
Peter Anderson

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

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TRAILER

SOFCOM MOVIE TIMES

DEAD MAN ON CAMPUS (M)
(US)

CAST: Tom Everett Scott, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Poppy Montgomery, Lochlyn Munro, Randy Pearlstein, Corey Page, Alyson Hannigan

DIRECTOR: Alan Cohn

PRODUCER: Gale Ann eHurd

SCRIPT: Anthony Abrams & Adam Larson Broder (story), Michael Traeger, Mike White

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Thomas

EDITOR: Debra Chiate

MUSIC: Mark Mothersbaugh

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Carol Winstead Wood

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: UIP

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 4, 1999

VIDEO RELEASE: Sept 10, 1999

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: CIC

RRP: $24.95







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