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Old School (2003) – DVD Review

Old School DVD cover


Written by: Scot Armstrong, Todd Phillips & Court Randall
Directed by: Todd Phillips
Starring: Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Jeremy Piven, Craig Kilborn, and Juliette Lewis


  • Bloopers and Outtakes
  • Inside the Actors Studio Spoof
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Featurettes: Welcome to Old School–Now Get Undressed and Nominations and Awards–So Did We Win Anything?
  • Running audio commentary from actors Wilson, Ferrell, Vaughn and writer/director Phillips

Released by: Dreamworks
Region: 1
Rating: NR (recommended for mature audiences)
Anamorphic: Yes

My Advice: Rent it.

[ad#longpost]Mitch, Frank, and Beanie (Wilson, Ferrell, and Vaughn) haven’t really gotten it through their heads that they are getting old. Mitch came home from a business trip to find his wife having not only one affair, but several…all at once. Frank has just gotten married, but he is not really ready to give up his roughhousing college ways. Beanie is married with a kid, but he is in the business of selling home cinema and stereo equipment, so he really never let go of his college ways either. Anyway, Mitch and Frank find themselves single again, and rooming together in a house that has been re-zoned to be included as part of the local college campus. You see where all this is going yet?

Wow. A pre-Geritol version of Animal House. Now, that one-line premise isn’t necessarily off-putting all on its own. Still, you’d think that this movie would be a little bit funny. However, all it really succeeds in doing is linking several scenes of sophomoric humor together with only a very flimsy idea for a plot. Some of it is vaguely humorous, true, but even Ferrell seems a bit lost in this movie…at least until the end. When the guys have to defend their university charter, there are some really very funny moments during their trials. A moment with a cameo by James Carville leaps especially to mind. All in all, the movie is only mildly entertaining, and can’t really decide whether it wants to be an all-out Animal House or a late-bloomer’s coming of age story or both. Sadly, it achieves none of the above.

Will Ferrell from Old School
It’s not really all that surprising that the deleted scenes, had they been kept in, would have done absolutely nothing to help the movie head in any of the above directions very well. The behind-the-scenes documentary on the disc comes very close to taking the movie too seriously. Some of the best stuff on the DVD, however, is the Inside the Actor’s Studio spoof. If there is a reason to buy this disc, it’s for this bit: Will Ferrell’s impression of James Lipton is uncanny and outstanding.

Here’s another beef with this DVD: you’d think that with the nature of the film and the cast involved, there would be a better, longer gag reel. The best word I can think of to describe this one is…mediocre. With Will Ferrell involved, it should have been much longer and, sadly, much funnier. Finally, there’s the commentary track. It features Phillips, Wilson, Ferrell, and Vaughn recalling their experiences with this movie. I’m thankful that it’s on the DVD. These guys had a great time making the movie and they obviously had an equally great time getting back together and improvising with each other in the studio. This makes for a really funny track which should not be missed. There are some of the other obligatory special features on this disc, like trailers and still galleries, but they really aren’t worth mentioning. Damn, I did anyway. Oh, well.

True, you get a slightly raunchier version of the theatrical release of the movie, but that’s really about all you get. If this movie sounds up your alley, then it’s probably worth at least renting. But still, I wouldn’t advise owning it, unless you really, really like that spoof of Inside the Actor’s Studio.

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