Stealing Harvard

"Unbearable"

Stealing Harvard Review


From its cursory, I- don't- know- how- to- start- my- movie opening voice over ("...my life was totally different just a couple weeks ago...") to its feeble, listless post-credits blooper reel, there isn't a laugh to be had in "Stealing Harvard."

Another boorish movie from the I- heard- a- joke- at- a- frat- party school of screenwriting, it's about a hapless chump (Jason Lee) whose long-forgotten promise to pay for his niece's college comes back to bite him in the wallet when she's accepted to Harvard. With his life's savings ($30,000) already in escrow toward a house for a fiancée who makes him miserable (chump!), Lee turns to his dumbest, most loutish (and apparently only) friend for ideas and ends up bungling through a series of failed criminal enterprises.

The caliber of comedy that results can be summed up by noting that this friend -- a beer-swilling dolt who lives in his mother's garage -- is played by the talentless, intentionally imbecilic gross-out comic Tom Green ("Freddy Got Fingered"), who seems to be improvising his way through the movie while director Bruce McCullouch ("Dog Park," "Superstar") obediently follows with a camera. A convenience store robbery ends with a teenage clerk firing a shotgun at them. A break-in at a mansion ends with Lee in drag, spooning in bed with the man of the house, a gun-toting lonely widower. A deal with a loan shark finds him the unwitting driver of a bank robbery getaway car.

Throughout these slapstick misadventures, the unsympathetically thick-witted Lee tells lies upon lies to his fiancée (squeaky-voiced Lesley Mann, "George of the Jungle") and her over-protective, cartoonishly disapproving father (Dennis Farina in a paycheck performance), whom Lee decides to rob in one last, desperate move that passes for the picture's climax.

It's clear from the inconstancy of the actors, who seem bored in some scenes and hyper-caffeinated in others, that McCullouch -- the most ham-fisted member of the 1990s TV comedy troop "The Kids in the Hall" -- wouldn't know a measured performance if it bit him on the nose. (His cameo as Lee's lawyer stands out to the point of distraction as the worst acting in the movie.)

It's even more apparent from the out-of-focus opening shot, the elementary scene staging and the laughably obvious soundstage sets that he doesn't know much about filmmaking either.

I've seen worse movies this year (six of them, to be exact), but "Stealing Harvard" is the only one that actively squanders what little it has going for it -- namely the proven comedy talents Lee and Farina, not to mention Megan Mullally ("Will & Grace") and John C. McGinley ("Scrubs"), wasted in roles as Lee's "sexually indiscriminate trailer trash" sister and a vein-popping cop obsessed with linking Lee and Green to their attempted crimes.



Stealing Harvard

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 13th September 2002

Box Office USA: $13.9M

Distributed by: Columbia Pictures

Production compaines: Columbia Pictures, Revolution Studios, Imagine Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 9%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 94

IMDB: 5.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as John Plummer, as Walter P. 'Duff' Duffy, as Elaine Warner, as Mr. Warner, John C. McGinley as Detective Charles, as Honorable Judge Emmett Cook, as Uncle Jack, as Patty Plummer, as David Loach, Don 'The Dragon' Wilson as Loach's Friend

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.