Bill H. (simonsaysrebel) from SPOKANE VLY, WA Reviewed on 8/26/2009...
I love quirky characters, and some "teen comedies" are actually quite entertaining. I found this movie to be silly and simple, yet entertaining and funny. I have always like Matthew Lillard's over the top performances, Olivia Wilde's smart sexiness and no-nonsense attitude, much like her performance on House as 13. This is not fine cinema, not even high-quality comedy, but it is off-beat enough to turn that into an asset rather than a liability. It far out-ranks dumb movies like Dorm Daze, even though it appears to have been aiming for the same level. I think what sets this movie apart is that several of the actors took their parts seriously, such as Wilde and Patrick Fugit, and there are some nicely-dealt-with dilemmas which all teens face when dropped into a new setting far from home. I did really enjoy this movie, unapologetically. I think it is a bit uneven, as it seems to be reaching for screwball comedy of errors and pathos-laden seeking for identity and love simultaneously. If you've ever felt like a bit of an outcast, or spent much of your life misunderstood, or even way too much up-in-your-head worrying, then this movie may even ease that and help you take it all a bit more lightly. That's what a good comedy can do, not just a series of meaningless yuks. I'll be keeping this one. Of course, here's the disclaimer: I also liked Super Troopers and Eurotrip. Enjoy!
Jason | Backwater, Alabama | 01/29/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Patrick Fugit is Bickford Schmeckler, a loner who lives in the basement of a busy frat house, writing down his "cool ideas" in a large metal book. Olivia Wilde is the beautiful (and smart) girl who throws his world into a tailspin by stealing it from his room. When further mischief gets his book published and distributed around campus, Bickford must come to terms with his own behavior, and decide whether to live his ideas or keep them locked away in his book.
Of course, the hot chick and nerd hook up. He won't stop acting like an emo kid and she dumps him. They get back together, kiss kiss, make-up garbage. And to think, all he had to do was write a "sex poem".
This film is for the most part, funny and light-hearted. Director Scott Lew packs a lot of typical college humor in (party mishaps, D&D geeks who hang out in a comic shop - one of which is John Cho from Harold & Kumar!, etc.), but it all works -- I even found the bits with Matthew Lillard as a campus misfit named "Spaceman" enjoyable. Where it goes slightly awry is when it tries to introduce some seriousness in the form of why Bickford is so socially-challenged. Adding in emotional conflicts seemed to halt the story and put too dark a slant on the intent. The director was suffering from ALS when the movie was being made.
I did like the made up word "braingasm"....the dorky D&D kids in this sadly reminded me of some of my AP classes in high school.
Still, Fugit pulls it all off with his sideways smile and adorable quirkiness (although, I am starting to wonder if he falls down in every movie on purpose, or if he's just clumsy). So, if you're in the mood for something cute, funny, and light, Bickford is good for a once-over. It will make you laugh, and it's worth watching just to see Fugit do what he does best.
What I found amusing most of all was the legion of followers he gains from just being crazy and writing random things down in "The Book".
One more added note: Bickford had the BEST t-shirts ever."
A Different Kind of College Comedy
Avilio A. Vieira | Santa Fe, NM USA | 01/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A nerdy college outcast , Bickford Shmeckler (Patrick Fugit of Almost Famous fame) has written a book of ideas about the nature of existence that would make the average persons head spin. While pondering an ending to his book, a sorority girl, Sarah (Olivia Wilde) "borrows" the book and is blown away by it's insights. She gives the book to a friend, who gives to another person and another until Bickford's writings are being passed all around campus.
As he hunts down his prized possession he has the joy of being introduced to a few strange characters that have come into contact with the book. Matthew Lillard is a crazy homeless guy who believes in extra-terrestrial beings who control his thoughts and thinks Bickford can get them to leave. John Cho leads an AD&D group that drops everything to spread the gospel of the book (a la Mao's little red book). It turns out everyone who reads the book either has a mental orgasm or feels enlightened by the thoughts on life, the universe and everything. Bickford has become a reluctant star, messiah and object of desire.
Casting Patrick Fugit in the lead role was an interesting choice, but good one. He's a brooding emo kid with issues who also happens to be a philosophical genius. Bickford has a troubled past and a high-anxiety present, but Fugit plays him with enough of a light touch that he comes as across as more funny than sad. Early on, Bickford seems pretentious and anti-social; simply obsessed with getting the book back. Slowly he learns that there are more important things than pondering the meaning of the universe. As he openes up to the world, we see more of what makes this guy tick.
In all, this isn't your typical college comedy filled with drinking and nudity. It's offbeat, and that's what makes it interesting from your run of the mill American Pie formula of comedies. It's worth checking out for a different take on the same old thing.
ChibiNeko | Whereever I go, here I am. | 01/24/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I didn't expect anything out of this film. That alone got me through the film, because if I'd actually expected this film to be funny or good, I'd have turned it off halfway through. This flick tries really, really hard to be a lot of things & in the end it got bogged down under it's own weight.
The plot is incredibly simple. Boy writes book. Boy looses book via a klepto nymphomaniac. Book becomes popular. Boy meets nympho. Really & truthfully, I can't put my finger on any one thing that really made this movie into a 3 star rating for me. The plot was ok. The acting was ok enough. It's just that when you get down to it, the movie really wasn't all that funny & when you're trying to pass yourself off as a cutesy college sex comedy, the laughs are important.
It's interesting to see how many stars of teen comedies were in this film, though. I guess in the end, the movie's big flaw was that it just tried too hard. It had the potential to be better than what it was, but the film was just lackluster. It's not an abomination, but I wouldn't see making this into anything other than a movie rental or something to watch if it's on tv."
Awesome Flick That Didn't Get Much Press
Adam J. Davis | Middletown, DE, USA | 08/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The thing about Patrick Fugit is that since his role in Almost Famous we haven't seen him much. Mostly he has been in television programs and movies like Saved, which received far more press than this film, but did not have him as the main character. Although this film will not be filed away in the archives of fabulous film-making, I feel that it has some merit and is worth watching. I first saw it on Comedy Central, and I knew that I would like the story, which is a "boy-meets-girl" type, but with an added twist, as the film involves a brilliant but stressed out college kid with mysterious problems--the attractive blonde fills in the rest. Not an excellent plot, but funny and a "feel good" movie. If you have the time to spare, check it out."