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High school senior Kevin Brewer seems like a nice enough guy. He likes photography. He takes his girlfriend out to play miniature golf. He's a responsible, reliable, stand-up fellow.
His girlfriend hates that about him.
"I want to have fun," main squeeze Gina tells him, "and you're no fun."
By fun, she means going to parties and getting drunk. Isn't that what being a high school senior is all about? How better (she reasons) to prepare for college and, after that, adulthood?
"College is just around the corner and I won't let you ruin my senior year," she tells him.
So she breaks up with him.
Soon after, Kevin goes to visit the local institution of higher learning and he decides on the fly to prove to Gina that he's no goody two-shoes. "You want irresponsible?" he seems to say to himself. "I'll show you irresponsible!"
With wild friend Carter and mild friend Morris in tow, Kevin arrives on campus with one ambition: To go a little crazy. "I'm ready to have fun," he tells Carter. So the friends begin a quest for wine, women and debauchery—masquerading as college freshmen.
Cheap thrills come with a price, of course. (Not that this trio cares much about that.) Kevin and his buds wind up crashing at a fraternity that's been locked out of recruiting fresh meat after abusing its last set of pledges and sending one of them to the hospital. (He emerged encased in a full-body cast.) So these campus bullies immediately pounce, deciding they'll take a whole year's worth of hazing out on these guys in just one weekend. And, if they complain, head frat brother Teague will tell the world (or at least the campus) exactly how young Kevin, Carter and Morris really are.
Kevin does realize after his wild weekend that such shenanigans aren't really for him. He kinda likes being responsible, as it turns out. He also learns the hard way that it's not good to lie to college girls when the pretty Kendall rejects him for pulling the wool over her eyes about his age. (Let us note that she's not averse to him falling down drunk or making a fool of himself in a myriad of other ways. It's lying that simply goes too far for her.)
When Penthouse snags several obvious product placements in a film, you know you're in trouble.
I'll begin with the nudity. This college, at times, seems to be of the clothing-optional variety. Scads of topless women parade about, flaunting their assets (both with and without assorted pasties). Topless girls dance in cages, two of whom make out. Not to be outdone, several men disrobe completely. (While we never see any full-frontal nudity, shots of guys' rears are pretty commonplace.)
The fraternity sends the boys to a party at the "gay" house as a joke. This house is home to men wearing bottomless chaps, biker outfits and makeup. They dance together and, for a few seconds, the camera zooms in on two intertwined guys on a couch, kissing in their skimpy leather outfits. A game of tag in the dark involves guys supposedly touching one another's private parts that have been painted with glow-in-the-dark colors.
Moviegoers hear an explicit encounter between two women, complete with sexual talk, gasps and the sound of a vibrator operating. We briefly see the two nude from the side. When the girls leave, a frat brother comes in, finds the vibrator and apparently uses it himself.
This room that they were in—which is plastered with dozens of raunchy posters—gets quite a bit of action. While all this is going on, Carter and a girl are hiding underneath the bed, getting alternately turned on and off by the goings-on above them. Their particular relationship is not consummated until later, though, when the two are shown moving and gasping and rocking in the back of Kevin's station wagon.
Morris also finds a girl—one who puts her hand down his trousers and begins to perform oral sex on him before passing out midway through the act. Morris later fantasizes about waking up in bed, naked, next to her, where she informs him they had sex all night long.
One college student answers his dorm room door sporting an erection under his shorts while we hear a pornographic movie playing in the background. We later see this same guy masturbate under the covers.
Enough already! But the filmmakers were obviously just getting started. Director Deb Hagan never tires of sexual gags and flat-out pornographic images as sex dolls, condoms, S&M whips and frat boys taped naked to a prominent college statue in simulated oral sex positions fill the screen to the backbeat of vulgar jokes and obscene comments.
Carter violently deflates the sex doll. Morris runs into a refrigerator, knocking himself out, and he later gets smacked in the face again. Frat mates shoot passersby with a paint gun. We also see video footage of them hanging pledges off the roof—the very stunt that put one young hopeful in a body cast and a wheelchair. (A sad commentary about his view of himself and of his abusers comes from the fact that he still lives in the frat house where his "brothers" regularly throw empty cups and other things at him.)
Crude or Profane Language
The f-word tally approaches 100, the s-word 50. We hear such words as "b--ch," "p---," "a--" and "h---" regularly. God's name is disrespected about 15 times and is sometimes paired with "d--n." Jesus' name is abused at least three times. Kevin's car is decorated with a vulgar slang name for a female body part. Obscene terms for the male and female anatomy are routinely uttered.
Drug and Alcohol Content
College, apparently, is no place for sobriety. Among other despicable—and illegal—things, Kevin and his friends are forced to do "body shots" (drink liquor that's poured onto someone else's body) off a particularly hairy frat brother. At one point they drink liquor that's been poured through his backside. They also slurp alcohol off his chest, out of his belly button, from his nipples and, at one juncture, the frat bro dribbles alcohol from his mouth into the waiting mouth of one of the high schoolers.
Morris tries to spend just one night sober, but a frat friend tricks him into drinking some heavily spiked punch. He tells Morris it's for "designated drivers." Morris spends the rest of the evening staggering in the streets, throwing cups at passing cars and vomiting on the dean's windshield.
Kevin and Carter have no such sobriety desires, and they spend most of the film in a state of extreme intoxication. They sip, quaff, guzzle and chug liquor, and at one point Kevin tries to pour beer straight from a hose into his mouth while he's hanging upside down. For the record, Morris isn't the only one who throws up because of overdrinking. And any number of folks pass out. At one point the frat house's sprinkler system is hooked up to its ample beer supply.
When Carter meets a similarly in-disguise high schooler, the highest words of praise he has for her is how well she can hold her liquor.
"You can drink like a college girl," he tells her.
"Thank you," she responds.
A marijuana joint makes the rounds at a party. Partygoers also inhale helium to get high.
Other Negative Elements
The frat brothers make Kevin, Carter and Morris sit in a big pile of mud and pig feces shortly before they (the frat brothers) instigate a pig stampede. Kevin later gets revenge by putting pigs in Teague's room and spreading laxatives all over the floor for the pigs to eat and digest.
Carter picks up several used condoms while forced to straighten up the frat house. And Kevin must clean the toilet, which is too incredibly disgusting to write about here. Later, he spreads glue on the toilet seat, ensnaring one frat brother and necessitating a rescue by the fire department.
There's talk of treating passed gas as a sexual fetish. And a little person urinates on Kevin, Carter and Morris during a party.
On a more philosophical level, Kevin, as I've mentioned, learns that he likes his responsible self better. Morris, on the other hand, decides to become more irresponsible. His ongoing angst revolves around being unable to stand up to his parents. So he just resolves to continue defying them by sneaking around behind their backs.
College is meant to be a raunchy, high school-age comedy that glamorizes the hedonistic stereotype of fraternity living. I was supposed to laugh, but I didn't. I couldn't. Because this feels, if you'll pardon the pun, more like a insipidly conceived Greek tragedy—a story in which the heroes miss the moral and don't even know it.
It's suggested in College that the end-all, be-all in life is plentiful booze and easy sex. That's a little like telling someone that the best food in the world can be found at the bottom of a McDonald's trash can, or the thrill of sailing is best experienced on a plank of wood plunked down in a mud puddle.
And I won't even get started on the issue of underage binge drinking. I already covered that in my review of Superbad.
(How many of these malevolent movies must we all endure?)
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Drake Bell as Kevin Brewer; Andrew Caldwell as Carter Scott; Kevin Covais as Morris Hooper; Haley Bennett as Kendall; Nick Zano as Teague; Gary Owen as Bearcat
Deb Hagan ( )