Uninspired academia-set romcom starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd
At first glance Admission could be mistaken for a sure-fire success. Starring lovable duo Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, it combines life-crisis drama with romantic comedy, and director Paul Weitz has some form balancing the two (having directed About a Boy). And yet Admission fails on these fundamental fronts - its stars don't shine, it never convinces dramatically, the romance is DOA and, for a comedy, it takes itself way too seriously.
Based on the novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, Admission focuses not on the raucous activities of already-enrolled college students but the rather more serous business of 'getting in'. Fey plays Portia, an uptight admissions officer at Princeton. She's a workaholic in an unfulfilling relationship with academic Mark (Michael Sheen) and is eager to fill the soon-to-be-vacated post of Dean of Admissions. Portia's life is shaken up when she meets John (Rudd), a laidback teacher at an alternative high-school who introduces her to a remarkable student, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), who's applying to Princeton.
While Admission highlights the elitism of the Ivy League application process, ultimately it's happy to trade snobbery for nepotism. Karen Croner's uninspired screenplay is matched by Weitz's pedestrian direction. Their adherence to clichés means that, although signs suggest you're watching a romantic-comedy, chemistry and laughs are almost entirely absent and the film is weighed down by some questionable moral lessons. In the face of such adversity, Fey and Rudd are no better than solid, while actors of the calibre of Sheen and Lily Tomlin shine only fleetingly in support. Admission is disappointing rather than disastrous but it's desperately lacking in spark and individuality.