Written by Phil Cerroni
By Matt Mungle
There seems to be a trend these days with romantic comedies trying to add a bit too much drama. The viewer ends up confused as to which emotion to engage. In the end, both genres suffer slightly. In the new comedy Admission, I wanted more laughs and less emoting. Not to say it isn’t still a solid date night film, just warning you that it isn’t wall to wall hilarity. For some that might be a bonus.
Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is a Princeton admissions officer working hard at weeding out the undeserving freshman entries. She is on the fast track to head up the department after 16 years of dedicated service. When visiting an alternative school in search of new recruits, she finds a young man (Nat Wolff) who is not only incredibly bright but may just be the son she gave up for adoption years ago. To complicate her life even further she is dealing with her eccentric mother (Lily Tomlin), a struggling dating relationship, and an overzealous school administrator (Paul Rudd).
Tina Fey is one of the funniest women on screen today who is awkwardly charming with perfect timing and a relaxed delivery. She carries a smirky smile that lets you know that nothing she says is 100 percent serious and actually does a nice job in this role. The dramatic moments are nailed right along with the funny ones. Fey carries this film from start to finish. It is her character’s journey and each scene belongs to her. Rudd is another comedic actor with a laid back personality and novel charm. I will not go so far as to say that their chemistry on screen was delightful, but it was believable enough.
There are a lot of messages in this film about adoption. That is where most of the dramatic moments take effect. It isn’t preachy or agenda driven, but still the point is made; adoption is better than many alternatives. The message and story are very positive though many might want more laughs and Tina Fey goodness. Yes you get involved with her on the journey, but you sort of long for more of the admissions side of what she does. Even that gets a little serious when it becomes about “who should be eligible for education”.
Bottom line: It is a strong date night flick. Nothing remarkable and once you see it you may not care to see it again. But it offers enough for both sexes to make it enjoyable. Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material; there are no awkward first date moments or anything to offend viewers. The language is adult and frequent. There are a few expletives you would not like your teens repeating though most they have certainly heard. Admission gets 3 out of 5 waitlists. It needed more humor and better use of Tina Fey’s abilities.