Finding it boring being an adult and deciding to recapture your youth, leads to joining a fraternity that’s open to anyone who wants to join, and deciding to just have fun with life. Sounds fun, especially when there are some Fight Club style scenes involved, right?
I’m reviewing a film that I quite enjoyed, the underrated gem Old School, directed by Todd Phillips, who previously did Road Trip. It wasn’t as gross as Road Trip, but it felt like more of a transition from gross out comedies to something funnier. He went on to do Starsky and Hutch and the Hangover movies. The film begins with Luke Wilson’s Mitch, sitting at a real estate seminar, taking notes and learning. He sneaks out to go home to surprise his girlfriend, such a lovely gesture. His girlfriend, Heidi is played by Juliette Lewis. He gets to the bedroom to surprise her, but she’s watching a pornographic film. He decides to go with the flow, but a naked and blindfolded couple joins them in the bedroom. It doesn’t get graphic, but it switches to them in the kitchen talking about their issues.
Mitch is in church the next day with Vince Vaughan’s Beanie standing behind him telling him that women like Heidi are rare. Will Ferrell’s Frank is in front of them at the front of the church, he’s getting married to Marissa, played by Perrey Reeves. Beanie is telling Frank to escape from the church while he still can. He then waves at his wife, Lara, played by Leah Remini, who is holding their child. The wedding ceremony takes place and the wedding band’s rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart is great.
Mitch bumps into an old friend, Nicole, played by Ellen Pompeo, and they catch up. Mitch is drunk and spills a drink on her. He tries to fix it, but leaves to join the two newlyweds at the wedding. He tries to give a best man’s speech, but Beanie steps in to stop Mitch from saying anything too inappropriate. Mitch moves into a new house that’s close to a college campus and Beanie decides that this is an opportunity to turn the house into a frat house. They can host parties and do anything to help Mitch get over his divorce from Heidi.
The first party they have, Beanie gets Snoop Dogg to play some music. Frank is walking around the party, being nice to everyone, talking about his plans for a Saturday. The young people laugh at his plans and for not accepting alcohol because he’s trying to avoid turning back into the party animal he once was. He winds up drinking while Snoop Dogg is playing on stage and Mitch meets a nice blonde woman who recognizes him from the posters that were handed out for the party. Frank gets on the stage, naked and asks everyone to go streaking with him. He runs off to do so by himself.
Marissa is in her car with Lara and two other friends, who give Marissa a belated wedding present, an oral sex class. They see a naked man streaking in the road and laugh. Marissa stops laughing when she recognizes that it’s Frank. He gets in the car, still naked and it is really awkward. Mitch later wakes up with the blonde woman he was talking with at the party. They are visited by Pritchard, Jeremy Piven, an old friend from college, who is now the Dean of the college. Due to the house being so close to the college campus, it’s been rezoned. He gives Mitch a letter that says he has a week to vacate the premises. Frank and Marissa go through couple’s therapy and things with them just continue to be awkward.
Mitch is in his boss’s office talking about how he needs help with his house being rezoned and the boss’s daughter walks in, she is the same blonde woman that he met and slept with from the party. Mitch gets back to the house and Frank is in the driveway thinking about his marital problems. They walk into the house to see Beanie talking about starting a fraternity that’s open to anyone. He addresses Mitch as the godfather and everyone sees him as one. Much like at the end of Fight Club when Ed Norton’s character is treated with respect everywhere he goes, this is the way that Mitch is treated as well. It feels like Project Mayhem from Fight Club, but reimagined as a fraternity but with some light comedy.
We’re treated to a montage of how Mitch, Beanie, and Frank kidnap the pledges for the fraternity. The pledges are put through a series of tests that will last for twenty-one days. Workers from Mitch’s workplace also want to join the fraternity to get away from their boring adult lives. Beanie invites Nicole to his son’s birthday, but she brings a date. Frank ends up shooting himself in the neck with a tranquillizer dart and ruining the birthday party. The oldest member, Blue, has a birthday party that ends badly and everyone is sad at the outcome of it. While I have gone through the movie in a great amount of detail so far I will say that as a spoiler, Blue has a heart attack and dies. Frank sings at the funeral.
The Dean wants to terminate the fraternity and since they’re on college property, they have to excel in five categories: academic, athletics, community service, debate and school spirit. There’s a scene where Frank returns to the house. He was thrown out of because he misses his wife. Unfortunately she’s with her friends and the oral sex instructor, who is using vegetables to help the women with their sex lives. Frank looks through the window and thinks that his wife is with another man, chaos ensues. Frank fights the instructor and loses, but it’s hilarious to watch. Will Ferrell has this comedic timing that I absolutely love.
Mitch, Beanie and Frank go through a test in this film that contradicts their earlier behavior in the film. They also have their lives turned upside down so they work their hardest to excel in the five categories in order for the fraternity to continue. They take responsibility for how their lives are now and realized that they can’t take what they have now for granted. They really work hard to represent themselves in a positive way. Mitch and Nicole finally get together after Nicole’s boyfriend, Mark, who Mitch meets at Beanie’s son’s birthday party, turns out to be a sleaze. He tells Nicole that Mitch was fooling around at the party with a waitress.
Beanie realises that his life is perfect as it is and shouldn’t act like he used to. He gets close to a female partygoer, but stops because she wants to be intimate. The look on his face says it all, he’s happy with his married life and he won’t do anything to jeopardize it. Frank finally divorces Marissa because they both believe that they rushed into marriage and want to live their lives separately. Frank goes back to his old title, Frank the Tank and works as a radio DJ at the college campus. The Dean and Nicole’s ex get their comeuppance in a mid-credit scene, which ends with Blue singing at a piano dressed as an angel. Frank bumps into Heidi at the supermarket and Beanie is coaching soccer for kids.
If you want to discuss this film further, you can find me on Twitter with the handle @immiebroods and if you haven’t seen it, try to find this classic comedy, it’s quite entertaining.