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Three men in their 30s who still want to behave like boys walk out on the women in their lives and move into a rambling house on the fringe of a college campus. When they throw a wild and willing housewarming party which many co-eds attend, they infuriate an uppity dean who makes moves to have them evicted. Mitch (Luke Wilson), Frank (Will Ferrell) and Beanie (Vince Vaughn) uncover a loophole in the law which means they can stay on and trash the place provided they can recruit enough misfits to form their own highly disruptive fraternity. 

Review by Richard Kuipers:
The one and only American frat house comedy classic is 1978's Animal House. Since then, dozens of terrible imitators have been churned out and Old School is one of them. The novelty (or desperate marketing ploy) here is the idea of 35 year-old men deciding to re-live those crazy fun days of beer kegs in the kitchen and bodacious undergraduates in the bedroom. 

Best described as Porkys for the arrested development set, Old School tweaks a few giggles out of the gross-outs (an 89 year old 'frat boy' jelly wrestling a couple of topless babes, Will Ferrell's penchant for streaking) but can't overcome the rather sad premise of grown men acting like schoolboys. Nor can the slapdash screenplay connect the scenes with any coherence or supply any character development beyond what we learn in the first 30 seconds of meeting these superannuated party animals. What we get is a wet and dull Luke Wilson who sleeps with his boss' teenage daughter (Leah Rimini, in a role as thankless as all the women who appear), Will Ferrell as a decent if rather clumsy guy who suddenly can't wait to become a teenage loser all over again and Vince Vaughn as a rotten, sleazy husband and father whose revenge against marriage and responsibility is manipulating his dimwit pals so he won't feel so bad. 

None of this would matter too much if the film was actually funny but laughs are in short supply in this ole' house. There's a scene in which which Ferrell is shot with a tranquilizer and sinks to the bottom of a pool while Simon and Garfunkel's The Sounds Of Silence fills the soundtrack. It's intended to be a funny send-up of Dustin Hoffman's entrance in The Graduate but Ferrells blank gaze only sums up the cheap and tacky nature of this no-hoper comedy.

Special Features reviewed by Craig Miller:
Whether you are a fan of frat house campus comedies or not, there is little argument over the extras package on this single disc, which is a cut above the average DVD release and chock full of nice features for the odd punter who likes their comedy a little on the childish side.

The feature commentary is highly entertaining, dripping with satire and fun, with Phillips’ more directorial commentary approach happy to take a back seat to the antics of Wilson, Ferrell and Vaughn as they ham their way through the film with stories on performances, jokes and lots of references to the film Fight Club. Phillips, Wilson, Vaughn and Ferrell are once again in fine form in the spoof interview feature which sees a dressed-up Ferrell as interviewer James Lipton conducting a tongue in cheek interview segment.

Last of the stand-out extras is an excellent deleted scenes package with some terrific material, no doubt cut for time (although an introduction or commentary would have been handy), showing off more of the good comedy performances from the chief cast members. Fans who managed to catch the cinematic release of Old School will also delight in the additional footage not shown in cinemas, and keep an eye out for the two Easter eggs which have even more deleted footage. 

Published October 2, 2003

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CAST: Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn, Will Ferrell, Jeremy Piven, Juliette Lewis.

DIRECTOR: Todd Phillips

SCRIPT: Todd Phillips and Scott Armstrong

RUNNING TIME: 91 minutes

PRESENTATION: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital

SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary featuring Todd Phillips and cast members Luke Wilson, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell, Old School orientation, Deleted scenes, Inside the Actor’s Studio Spoof, Outtakes & bloopers, Hidden easter eggs, TV spots, Photo gallery.


DVD RELEASE: October 8, 2003

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