For my 14th birthday, my dad took my cousin and I to see Old School in theaters. I loved Will Ferrell on Saturday Night Live, and I had just recently discovered National Lampoon’s Animal House and loved it as well. When I saw it that first time in theatres, I absolutely loved the movie. It had been a couple of years since the last time I watched the movie and I didn’t have anything waiting from Netflix at home right now, so I figured I’d pop the film and see how well it’s stood the test of time. And while it’s still enjoyable, watching Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughan play practically the same exact character for the last 8 years has robbed the film of much of its original freshness and pleasure.

For those rare few of you who have managed to not see this one yet, Old School is about three friends, Mitch (Luke Wilson), a lawyer fresh off a hilariously failed relationship, Frank (Will Ferrell), a mild-mannered newly-wed til he drinks when he becomes party machine Frank the Tank, and Bernard (Vince Vaughan), a fast-talking speaker salesman in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Due to Mitch’s house being zoned for the new school by scummy Dean Pritchard (Jeremy Pivens), the trio decides to form an unconventional fraternity to keep Mitch’s house. Zany antics ensue.

Don’t get me wrong. There are some moments in this film that are hilarious. Frank streaking after his first taste of alcohol in years is classic Will Ferrell. There are actually a ton of funny moments in the film involving Will Ferrell, like him debating James Carville, doing a floor show dance for a gymnastics competition, tranquilizing himself on accident. Unfortunately, Will has spent the last 8 years playing variations of Frank the Tank. If this weren’t the original role, this film would be much more boring. Same with Vince Vaughan. Except, this time, this isn’t the original role. That goes to Swingers. He’s been playing the fast-talking, scheming, obnoxious man-child since freaking Swingers. The film does have a lot of people in small roles before they got much more famous. This is a pre-Ari Gold Jeremy Piven. This is a pre-Mrs. Ari Gold Perrey Reeves. Big Bang Theory‘s Wolowitz is in this. Rob Cordrey is in the film. Hell, it has John Locke in it pre-Lost. And the always stunning Elisha Cuthbert, although this came out the same year as 24 I believe.

This movie is by no means a classic. But it’s fun and I always enjoy it whenever I pop it in. It’s 8 years old at this point and I still quote it fairly regularly and I still wear my Frank the Tank shirt on occasions. And actually, unlike most of his roles for the next 8 years, Will Ferrell does manage to vacillate between full on crazy and quieter, drier humor at a fairly regular pace rather than just playing complete full on insane mode the whole film. If you haven’t seen this movie yet, you should give it a watch. It’s not one of my favorites but it’s managed to survive many repeat viewings over its lifespan.

Final Score: B

Advertisements