Our In-Flight Entertainment Today Is "Admission," Starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. Headphones Can Be Purchased for $5.
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Our In-Flight Entertainment Today Is Admission, Starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. Headphones Can Be Purchased for $5.

By Dustin Rowles | Film Reviews | March 22, 2013 | Comments ()


There are no bad jokes in Admission. There are no embarrassing pratfalls, silly twists, or stupid gags. Admission isn't a dreadful bore. It's not mawkish, it's not awkward, and it's not dumb. In fact, the only thing wrong with Admission is that it's not a very good movie.

I watch a lot of middling movies. Some of those middling movies have featured Paul Rudd or Tina Fey. Most of them, however, feature someone like Steve Carell or Jennifer Aniston or Owen Wilson or Jason Bateman or Renee Zellwegger or Sandra Bullock. None of them have ever featured Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, two actors that I both like and admire very much. I feel a connection to them, or at least as much a connection as one can feel to two people I have never met, and with whom I've only seen on television or in movies. As someone who had had a wealth of experience with middle-of-the-road generic films, however, I feel qualified in saying that, if you have to watch a middling movie, Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are the two people you'd want to be stuck with. I'd much rather watch Fey and Rudd coast through an ordinary, formulaic studio film than almost anyone else. They're a comfortable presence, prepossessing, appealing, and inviting enough to make sitting through an unexceptional movie a mindlessly pleasant experience.

Admission stars Fey as Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer living a tedious but not objectionable life. She reads admissions essays, goes home to her live-in boyfriend of 10 years (Michael Sheen), and leads a quiet, Type-A existence.

During application season, however, she receives a call from John Pressman (Rudd), who runs a nearby alternative high-school school. Portia visits the school, ostensibly to speak about the Princeton admissions process, but she's informed by John that one of the school's students, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), may be the child she gave up for adoption when she was younger. Naturally that revelation coming in the heels of her boyfriend leaving her, shakes up Portia's mundane life. She finds herself fighting to slip Jeremiah -- an otherwise hopeless candidate -- through the cracks in Princeton admission process. Meanwhile, she also falls for John, a single dad with impulse control issues, a winning smile, and a child looking for some stability in his life.

It's an exceedingly predictable film, and despite the presence of both Fey and Rudd, it's not really a comedy, either. There's an occasionally amusing moment, but it'd be better described as a light drama, and not a very good one, at that. But it's not offensive. In fact, if I had to watch a bland, unimaginative movie about two people falling in love through their shared willingness to help a teenager be admitted into Princeton, there's hardly anyone I'd rather see glide through all those familiar beats than Fey and Rudd, who elevate Admission into an amiable film perfectly suited to in-flight entertainment on cross-country flights.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • par1964

    Yeah, I'd tap that .......

  • e jerry powell

    Tina Fey in something she didn't write is always a sketchy proposition, which is not to say that she's a bad actress, just that she has an easier time finessing her own material.

  • e jerry powell

    Wait, if I pay the five bucks, I get to keep the headphones?

  • ed newman

    "who runs a nearby alternative high-school school"

    Is this the same as an alternative high school?

  • chrisahl

    It was painfully obvious when they retooled the marketing to totally drop the "he might be your son" angle that this was going to be a stinker.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I'm cool with them doing the occasional Ferrari money movie. If I were an actor, I would totally do Ferrari money movies.

  • dannyexplosion

    So....... The movie sucks but the cool people are in it.

  • big dipper

    I'm glad you described this as a light drama. I read the book this was based on and thought it was kind of depressing. Which meant that for the movie, they either (a) they changed the story significantly to make it more of a comedy or (b) the marketing was kind of misleading.

  • KatSings

    I read an interview with the script writer today, and she mentioned adapting it to be comedic. She also found the book really depressing, and thought it suited better to make it more comedic.

  • big dipper

    Ah, glad to know I didn't completely misinterpret the tone of the book! I was doubting my memory.

  • bbmcrae

    A romcom-dramedy about a Princeton admissions officer. This seems like the whitest movie plot ever. And I'm really white.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    don't forget the agrarian NH private school.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    I can say with some authority that those only come in white, because only a white person can look at farm labor and think, "Yes, this is just what education is missing."

  • Alyssa Christopher

    If you think Billy`s story is unimaginable,, 3 weaks-ago my friends sister also made $4214 working a fourteen hour week from there apartment and there best friend's mother-in-law`s neighbour has been doing this for 8-months and easily made more than $4214 part-time on there labtop. follow the information here, Mel7.com

  • Uriah_Creep


  • zeke_the_pig

    'I’d much rather watch Fey and Rudd coast through an ordinary, formulaic studio film than almost anyone else'
    Almost the opposite for me. Hurts more seeing these light-the-way bastards doing it.

  • eskaton

    Michael Sheen plays the boyfriend of Tina Fey's character? IMDB says Sheen's character's name is Mark, but shouldn't it be Wesley Snipes in this scenario/pairing?

  • e-money

    "It's ridiculous that the actor's name is Wesley Snipes. The pale Englishman every time Liz"

  • IngridToday

    He does have a good point.

    In the trailer when Tina Fey says "You work at a school and I'm an admissions (whatever) at Princeton!" It made me think of the "I'm rich your poor we can't be together!" plots.

  • Kballs

    You struggled with this review, didn't you Dustin? It's OK, you can admit it.

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