Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) has graduated from high school, so his future is open and the world should be in the palm of his hand. His classmates and friends have found various colleges to attend, but for Gaines, his options are a little more confined. He has no idea what he wants to do with his life, but he isn’t rushed to choose a career path, since he didn’t get into college. Not only did his top choices reject him, but even his last resort schools turned him down. His family is disappointed, so Gaines does the only thing he can think of, creating an elaborate lie to buy him some time. He enlists a friend to create a fake college website, then he drafts an acceptance letter, which his father is overjoyed to see. When a classmate inquires about the fake school, Gaines allows him to sign up too and soon, several students are enrolled. The school itself, the South Harmon Institute of Technology, might be made up, but now it has students and tuition checks, which leads Gaines and his friends to lease a building and create a front for the school. But thanks to the website, hundreds of people applied on-line and were accepted, so South Harmon is overrun with arrivals. Will Gaines admit the hoax, or will he push onward and see if South Harmon can be a home for those rejected everywhere else?
If I had a dollar for every time a movie was hyped as “this generation’s Animal House,” I could probably retire in an expensive condo. But the hype never seems to pan out, so when Accepted was billed as such, I didn’t hold out much hope. The movie is by no means on the same level as Animal House, but it does make an effort to stand out from the other teen/college flicks out there. The premise is a fun one and used well, but it isn’t braced enough by the script, so what could have been great, settles for passable. This idea holds true for the entire movie too, as the gas tank starts to run out early in the movie and while it picks up at times, there just isn’t enough fuel to keep Accepted on the right road. As this is a comedy, it needs to be humorous throughout, but dry stretches pop up often, which kills the flow. If the writing were more consistent, this could have been a fun movie, but instead, it suffers from lack of laughs. Justin Long is solid in the lead, with some colorful supporting players, but none are really given great material to work with. Lewis Black is a perfect example, as he makes the mediocre writing work, so imagine if he had some great lines to deliver. Accepted at least took a chance and while it failed, it is still better than a lot of the teen/college comedies in recent memory. Universal’s release is decent, but I have to think a rental is the best option here.
Video: How does it look?
Accepted is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. I found the image to be a little on the soft side, but still sharp enough on the whole, so no real concerns. The print is clean and compression is flawless, so no unwanted artifacts can be seen. The colors appear vibrant and bright, with no hint of errors, while flesh tones are natural throughout. I have no issues with the contrast either, as black levels seem accurate and consistent as well. A more than acceptable visual presentation, if not quite as refined as we’ve come to expect from new release transfers.
Audio: How does it sound?
The audio track here is about what I expected, given that this is a teen/college comedy, perhaps the least audio driven of all genres. Although a Dolby Digital 5.1 track is found here, the material is driven by dialogue and low impact audio, so don’t expect a whirlwind of powerful audio elements here. The surrounds are visited to enhance the musical soundtrack, but aside from that, only a handful or so of scenes make use of the rear channels. This seems to satisfy the material however, as it never suffers and the front speakers handle the load rather well. The dialogue is crisp as can be and is never hard to understand, no problems whatsoever. This disc also includes Spanish and French language tracks, as well as subtitles in English, Spanish, and French.
Supplements: What are the extras?
The film’s director Steve Pink sat down for a commentary track, joined by various cast members to ensure the session is active. As often happens, everyone seems to be overly positive about the movie, but that is almost expected by now. The track does have some interesting anecdotes, but unless you loved the flick to no end, its safe to skip this track. This disc also includes a promotional featurette, a reel of outtakes, some video diaries, and some music videos.