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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this crude comedy -- which may be on older tweens' and younger teens' radar thanks to star Drake Bell of hit TV show Drake & Josh -- is a non-stop parade of boorish behavior, inebriation, and sex. Young men obsess about sex and ogle women (who mostly come across as window dressing). There's plenty of nudity -- big-breasted women (some in pasties) and men's behinds -- as well as crude sexual jokes (topics include sex toys and masturbation) and tons of swearing. Drinking seems to be the only thing there is to do at universities; underage characters swill alcohol constantly, and one character praises a girl by saying she "drinks like a college girl." Characters also smoke weed and inhale nitrous oxide.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Kevin Brewer (Drake Bell) is a straight-arrow high school senior who gets dumped by his excitement-seeking girlfriend. So when a classmate regales Kevin and his friends -- loudmouth Carter (Andrew Caldwell) and geeky Morris (Kevin Covais, of American Idol fame) -- with tales of a wild weekend at Fieldmont University, he decides it's the perfect opportunity to let loose, too, and perhaps make his ex jealous. Never mind that they're supposed to be touring the college for educational purposes, and that Morris is due for an interview with the dean so he can seal a scholarship offer.
Is it any good?
Obnoxious to the core, COLLEGE is a medley of cliches about university life. Make no mistake: The charming stars of Nickelodeon's beloved Drake & Josh are both clearly trying to shirk their wholesome alter-egos. But at least Josh Peck took on the intriguing (if flawed) indie The Wackness. Bell, on the other hand, is stuck in this crude morass. The cliches begin with the evil fraternity president and his equally loathsome buddies who abuse the three friends beyond belief (their methods include making the guys clean feces-encrusted toilets; forcing them to drink shots from a hairy, naked, fraternity brother; taping one of them naked to a statue; throwing them nearly naked into a sty soon to be invaded by stampeding pigs; and much more). Then there's the trio of ladies who see past the guys' gawky high-schoolness and desperate need to fit in and fall in love with them. And there's the pivotal moment when they exact vengeance. (Wasn't there a movie about this already called Revenge of the Nerds?)
All of that said, the three leads are amiable enough, especially Bell, who has an ease about him that has always worked for his characters. Covais (dubbed Chicken Little in his Idol run) is surprisingly deft. And though Caldwell sometimes overdoes his schtick -- he's clearly (and often painfully) doing an imitation of Jack Black or Chris Farley -- the guy does have a way with the punchlines. But the actors all deserve a better movie, one that doesn't rely on tired shorthand to capture the insanity -- not inanity -- of college life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about who this film is targeted at. Who do you think the filmmakers' ideal audience is? Why are sex- and swearing-filled movies so popular? Do you find this kind of humor funny or offensive? Why? Families can also discuss how the movie portrays women. Are the female characters stereotypical? In what ways? And do you think this is an accurate depiction of college life? How have other movies and TV Shows portrayed college in the past? How does this one compare?
- In theaters: August 29, 2008
- On DVD or streaming: January 27, 2009
- Cast: Andrew Caldwell, Drake Bell, Kevin Covais
- Director: Deb Hagan
- Studio: Element Films
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 94 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: pervasive crude and sexual content, nudity, language, drug and alcohol abuse.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.