Focus Pictures and director Paul Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) managed to pull two of Hollywood’s most likeable comedic actors for their quiet little comedy “Admission,” but it is a shame they couldn’t come up with a stronger script.
The movie, based on a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, stars Tina Fey as Portia, a high strung Princeton admissions officer whose life is turned upside down after she is introduced to a bright young student by Paul Rudd’s do-gooder teacher, John.
After Portia discovers the student may be the son she gave up for adoption, she puts her job on the line to help him get into the college of his dreams.
There may not be a more likable pair of actors working today than Fey (30 Rock, Mean Girls) and Rudd (I Love You Man This is 40), and they both shine in roles that probably came across as dull on paper until they put their signature brands of relatable humor, but they are not enough to save the drab script that is simply too drawn out.
For every enjoyable film Weitz has under his belt, like the delightfully sharp “About a Boy,” there is another that is another that just didn’t hit the mark, like the 2006 satire “American Dreamz.”
Weitz seems to know his stars strong suits, Fey is as neurotic as ever and Rudd is forever charming, but his direction often gets bogged down in scripts that are just too long and have no clear audience, which is unfortunately the case for “Admission.”
The run time is just about 30 minutes too long and it is never quite clear who they are trying to appeal to with this comedy. There are moments that are sweet and fun but others that are incredibly vanilla.
One day Fey and Rudd will find another movie to star in together because this crazy likeable matchup seems wasted on such a plain film.