“Admission” doesn’t make the grade

Gina Scialabba

The Guardsman

Princeton. You all want to know the secret to getting in, right?

Tina Fey has it.

I only wish I knew the secret to getting the 100-plus minutes of my life back that I spent in this movie.

It is not the comedic powerhouse combo of Tina Fey and Paul Rudd that ruin this movie.

Fey is everyone’s favorite “supernerd” and a comic genius.

Rudd is usually endearing, advantageously using his low-key, sardonic sense of humor to get laughs.

Director Paul Weitz was the impetus behind “American Pie” and “About a Boy.”

How can you go wrong?

You would think this is a hands-down recipe for comedic success. Especially with veteran actress Lily Tomlin as Fey’s mother.

It’s not. It’s bland, boasting good actors, but an abysmal script.

Although billed as a “comedy,” it is a pseudo-drama with really (really) bad jokes thrown in.

Fey plays Portia, a Princeton University admissions officer in the middle of an identity crisis. She is career-driven, but lacks that “spark” in her life.

What is that spark, you ask?

Motherhood, of course! No woman is fulfilled unless she realizes her “motherly instinct.”

That’s the message of this movie. Feminists, beware.

Rudd comes along to save the day. He plays John, a do-gooder teacher at an alternative high school who begs Portia to visit the campus.

He also has a secret.

Hey Portia! Remember that son you gave up for adoption way back when? He’s a student here. Oh, and he wants to get into Princeton.

Portia’s son is Jeremiah, an autodidact with poor grades but a penchant for ventriloquism.

His life goal is to join the ranks of Princeton elites who came before him, such as Woodrow Wilson, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ralph Nader. Yet he doesn’t have “what it takes” to get into Princeton.

Will Jeremiah’s newfound mom pull some strings?


There are some very predictable, Hollywood-esque plot turns.


Silly antics and awkward moments are sprinkled throughout the movie.


There are some genuinely funny scenes involving potential applicants and how cutthroat the admissions process can be.


But, if you are looking for any real “tips” on getting into Princeton, you won’t find it here. Nor will you find much humor.

The Guardsman