Attending college in this day and age typically requires sacrifices on the part of the child and his/her parents. Such sacrifices are portrayed with varying degrees of accuracy in Hollywood movies ranging from the plausible to the completely irrational. In the upcoming “The House,” Will Ferrell plays a father who decides that opening a casino in his basement will greatly aid him and his wife when it comes to financing their daughter’s college career. Given what higher education costs these days, that strikes me as plausible. About a decade earlier, the movie “Accepted,” dealt with what happens when a college applicant is rejected from all his schools – though his family does have the financial means. It stars Justin Long as the protagonist with Jonah Hill as his best friend. Last year, someone wrote a piece analyzing the various wigs, glasses, etc. that Jonah has worn in movies, but “Accepted,” is the only one (to my knowledge) where he dresses up as a giant wiener. Seriously.
In “Accepted,” everyone assumes (why wouldn’t they?) that Justin has gotten in at least somewhere, and he goes along with it because like 99 percent of movie teens, he has evil parents who withhold their love unless he measures up to their expectations. So he decides to invent a college. It’s the South Harmon Institute of Technology (check out that acronym), and he backs this up by having Jonah design a web site. However, Jonah goes so far as to put a link where “admission is just a click away.” This becomes a lifesaver for the many misfits out there who didn’t get into their dream schools. Fast forward a bit, and the duo finds an abandoned mental institution to transform and hires Jonah’s uncle (Lewis Black) to serve as the “dean.” A squirrelly guy shows up on the “first day,” and they initially mistake him for an inmate, but no, he’s just there to learn. More freshmen follow. Many, many more.
And so the fun begins, as S.H.I.T. quickly becomes the refuge of the tired, the poor, the minority athlete too injured to play, the attention deficit disordered, etc. With their parents’ tuition checks, they do things like build a skateboard ramp to study aerodynamics. Strippers become fashion designers; former psychotics become chefs, and so on.”What courses are you taking?” Justin’s dad asks him via cell. “Uh,” Justin replies, watching a girl suggestively insert her hand under her shorts, “Anatomy!” Meanwhile Jonah has trouble of his own at the school he goes to, mainly centering around frat hazing. Also, the evil dean of the real Harmon College (Anthony Heald) wants to buy up their real estate to expand his school. But eventually, justice prevails, and Justin gets the girl (Blake Lively) and after a courtroom speech that’s inspiring to anyone who hasn’t seen a movie before, his own college as well. I don’t know what became of Justin, but Jonah currently has a decent acting career, even if he might have to put up with wiener jokes at Hollywood roasts.