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College is predictable, but darn it, this loosey-goosey college comedy delivers the laughs, and in a smoother style than traditionally befits the genre.


This was no college like I ever attended! Take three typical high-school seniors--the nerd (Kevin Covais), the good-looking Regular Guy (Drake Bell) and the hell-for-leather, go-for-broke Horny Fat Guy (Andy Caldwell)--and let them loose during freshman orientation at fictional Fieldmont University. Just add beer, marijuana and wild sex, and you've got what may well be a new Frat House Classic, one that adheres studiously to the tenets of the teen-comedy genre, which also includes defying authority and destruction of public property. When it comes to the so-called "guilty pleasures" of 2008, this makes the Dean's List. Like any good college hangover, you'll hate yourself in the morning--but you'll still be laughing.


Credit an enthusiastic cast and a refreshing (but quite appropriate) disregard for the rules. Drake Bell (of Nickelodeon's Drake and Josh fame), who looks far too old to be contemplating a college career, is ostensibly the leading man here. Yet, the principal selling point of the film is the onscreen camaraderie between he and co-stars Caldwell, who plays it full-tilt a la John Belushi and Chris Farley (and that is meant as a compliment), but holds back enough when the ensemble demands require, and Covais, who all but steals the film with a smart, shrewd take on the big-screen geek. A good deal of the film's energy can be traced directly to them. The whole show is the three boys, and they have a great, easy rapport that transcends many of the worst trappings of a film like this. They feel like friends, and that goes a very long way in a film that, in some ways, doesn't deserve so rich an effort, but benefits from it nonetheless.


College marks the feature debut of director Deb Hagan, who manages at times to give the film a fresh visual perspective while maintaining a relaxed but steady momentum. College is neither original nor good, but it is enjoyable (far more so than would be expected) and it is fast-paced. It also delivers exactly what it promises. If it's bang for the buck you want, it's bang for the buck you got when you enroll in College.

Bottom Line rated this film 3 stars.