“Admission” isn’t loaded with rapid-fire laughs, but it’s because director Paul Weitz opts to give the material a chance to breathe and develops it into a more thoughtful comedy, making it more memorable than a mere fleeting attempt at earning a laugh.
Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is an all-business college admissions officer. She’s dedicated her life to plucking the brightest young minds from Princeton’s abundance of applicant folders to help uphold the university’s sky-high standards, so when her boss, Clarence (Wallace Shawn), announces he’s preparing to retire and find a replacement, Portia is hell-bent on getting the job. In an effort to outdo her competition, Portia agrees to expand her annual recruiting trip to visit an alternative school at the request of a former college classmate-turned-teacher, John Pressman (Paul Rudd). Trouble is, John doesn’t just want Portia there to gloat about Princeton’s rigorous application process; he thinks one of his students might be Portia’s son.
When a film’s got a poster featuring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, and a trailer with a cow-birthing scene, it’s easy to brand “Admission” your average commercial comedy. However, Weitz uses a far more naturalistic form of humor and a good deal of honest emotion to turn “Admission” into something relatable, amusing, and particularly charming.
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