My Admission: Tina Fey is Hot
By Jon Gallagher
Admission (Focus Features, 2013) – Director: Paul Weitz. Cast: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Gloria Reuben, Wallace Shawn, Lily Tomlin, Ann Harada, Ben Levin, Dan Levy, & Nat Wolff. Color, 107 minutes.
I wanted to see Admission when it was in the theaters, but other things got in the way. Other movies that seemed more pressing to see stole my time and then a couple of projects with two new local newspapers robbed me of even more of that limited commodity that restricts us to just 24 hours in each day.
I wanted to see it because the previews looked good and because – I’ll admit it – Tina Fey is hot. Not only do I enjoy looking at her, I think she’s extremely talented as an actress, writer, comedienne, and, well, anything else she undertakes.
She didn’t disappoint me in Admission. The story is about an admissions officer at Princeton University who is up for a promotion to the head of the department. Natalie (Fey) has been at the college for 16 years and follows all of Princeton’s rules to the letter. That is, until she meets John (Rudd), a teacher at an alternative school where he is the mentor of a very special student. The student, Jeremiah (Wolff) is a genius, a prodigy who has never been given a chance. Not only does John push for Jeremiah’s admission to Princeton, he reveals to Natalie that the student is the child that she secretly gave birth to in college some 18 years ago.
Natalie is torn between several conflicts. There’s her job, which mandates that Jeremiah is not Princeton material despite his high IQ. Then there’s the fact that he may be her son. Combine that with her breakup with her long-term live-in boyfriend and the attraction she has toward John, not to mention the stormy relationship she shares with her feminist mother, and you get a script ripe for possibilities.
I liked the play on the word “admission.” Not only does it refer to the job that she holds, it also refers to her admitting that she is Jeremiah’s mother.
It’s not a comedy, though there are some pretty funny parts. It’s not a drama, but there are some dramatic parts. It’s not exactly a romantic comedy, though there are aspects of that as well. Instead of throwing a label on it that won’t fit anyway, let’s just say that the movie kept my interest throughout, and had enough plot twists throughout to keep me from complaining that it was predictable (it was anything but predictable). The ending came a little quickly, without completely resolving a couple of storylines, but that’s how life is. We’re left to decide for ourselves how some of the stories end, and I found that refreshing rather than to have it shoved down my throat.
Fey is, as advertised, tremendous. Rudd does a great job as well. Tomlin plays Portia’s mother and she does a good job with a quirky character. Shawn (whose line “INCONCEIVABLE!” is one of my all-time favorites from another movie) is the retiring head of admissions and he’s annoyingly good. Of course, that’s Shawn’s role in any movie that he’s in (bonus points if you can name the movie in the aforementioned quote).
I won’t go so far as to give it an A+ as it’s not one that I would purchase. I might watch it again someday, but other than that, it would just sit on the shelf collecting dust. I’ll give it an A- because it did such a good job of holding my interest and because of all the quirky, memorable characters.