Tag Archives: Paul Rudd

Interview: Admissions’ Tina Fey And Paul Rudd

Tina-Fey-Paul-Rudd-AdmissionWhen you’ve got a movie starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, you’re bound to expect an excess of comedy, however, in the case of Paul Weitz’s “Admission,” the pair runs with their more “adult” characters and strike a an ideal balance between humor and honest emotion.

Fey stars as Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer dedicate to the school’s lofty criteria. When the opportunity for a promotion arises, Portia’s determined to get the gig, so tries to impress her superior by expanding her yearly recruiting script to include John Pressman’s (Paul Rudd) alternative school, New Quest. That’s where she meets Jeremiah (Nat Wolff). He may not fit the Princeton mold of sky-high grades and an endless list of extracurricular activities, but Portia sees something in him that compels her to consider deviating from the school’s rigid standards.

While promoting the film’s March 22nd release, both Fey and Rudd sat down for a roundtable style interview. They discussed boarding the project, the appeal of their characters, the art of filming a cow-birthing scene and more, but the highlight might be the duo remembering the good old days, when they first came together to reenact “Sixteen Candles” for a failed VH1 show. Read all about that and more in the interview below.

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Review: Admission

Admission-Poster“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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Interview: Admission Director Paul Weitz

Tina-Fey-Paul-Weitz-AdmissionFor a guy whose college essay was about being an underachiever, director Paul Weitz really came out on top. He’s got credits like “American Pie,” “In Good Company,” “About a Boy,” and more to his name and, with his latest film, “Admission,” Weitz could strike the ideal union of a modestly scaled production with a very wide appeal.

“Admission” will strike a chord with anyone who’s gone through or plans to go through the college admission process. It stars Tina Fey as Portia Nathan, a Princeton admissions officer dedicated to the institution’s strict standards. When the opportunity for a promotion arises, Portia is determined to get the gig. However, when she attempts to impress her superior by expanding her annual recruiting trip by visiting an alternative high school, she’s forced to recognize that there may be bright young minds outside of Princeton’s cookie cutter idea of the ideal prospective student.

In honor of “Admission’s” Friday, March 22nd debut, Weitz took the time to sit down and talk all things college admissions. He dished on his own experience applying to college and the trajectory he’s got in mind for his kids. Weitz also delved into the challenge of meeting audience expectations while also exceeding them, working with his ideal cast, and more. Check it all out for yourself in the interview below.

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Interview: Admission’s Nat Wolff

Nat_Wolff_AdmissionYou may know Nat Wolff for his work in Nickelodeon’s “The Naked Brothers Band” and his flourishing music career with his younger brother, Alex, but Wolff is also hitting it big within the film industry and, with a number of projects in post-production, the upcoming release, “Admission,” could mark the start of a strong, extensive run on the big screen.

Wolff stars alongside Tina Fey and Paul Rudd as Jeremiah Balakian, a kid adopted by loving parents, but ones that didn’t breed him for Ivy League college competition. When the time comes for Jeremiah to think beyond his alternative high school, New Quest, he’s totally unprepared with abysmal grades from his run at a more traditional school and zero extracurricular activities. However, thanks to the head of New Quest, John Pressman (Rudd), Jeremiah gets the opportunity to meet Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) and even though he’s not traditional Princeton material, Jeremiah makes a strong enough impression to entice her to reassess her school’s sky-high, ultra rigid standards.

While Wolff delivers a notably natural performance as the eccentric yet lovable Jeremiah, behind the scenes, Wolff is a particularly intense performer, doing everything and anything he can to prepare for a role so he can let loose when he hits the set. Check out what Wolff had to say about his preparation methods, the pressure of making a movie about getting into college while going through the process himself and more in the interview below, and catch him in action when “Admission” arrives in theaters on Friday, March 22nd.

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Review: This Is 40

This-Is-40-PosterApparently dull jokes, a bloated running time and a lack of proper pacing can be somewhat remedied by a charmingly honest representation of a dysfunctional family.

Debbie (Leslie Mann) is turning 40 and she isn’t happy about it. The easy fix? Have your husband top your birthday cake with a 3 and an 8 candle, give your doctor a later birth year and call it a day. However, even with her age issue out of the way, Debbie is still plagued by a number of other predicaments. She’s afraid her relationship with her husband, Pete (Paul Rudd), is losing steam, her children are consumed by their iEverythings, Pete’s record label hit a rough patch, someone is stealing from her clothing store and, despite their situation, Pete’s father is still mooching off their finances. It ain’t easy being 40.

That synopsis reveals one of “This Is 40’s” biggest problems – it doesn’t really have a through line. Rather than have a clear problem to solve or a finish line to reach, Debbie and Pete encounter dozens of little issues that are sloppily stitched together by the fact that they’re both turning 40. Some of these subsections are quite amusing, but overall, at a running time of 134 minutes, the lack of a build makes patience fade fast.

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Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

While I’ve still yet to give it a read, apparently “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” has roots in some excellent source material. Sure, seeing the movie before reading the book takes away the opportunity to imagine the characters as I perceive them, but the casting for this film is so pitch perfect, there’s no one I’d rather spend more time with than Logan Lerman’s Charlie, Ezra Miller’s Patrick and Emma Watson’s Sam.

Life isn’t easy for Charlie. Not only does he have a rather dark past, but he’s starting high school and doesn’t have a single friend there. However, one night at a football game, on a whim, Charlie approaches Patrick, a senior from his woodshop class with a tendency to cause trouble, as he makes no effort to restrain his big personality. Patrick introduces Charlie to his stepsister, Sam, and the two immediately take a liking to him, bringing Charlie into their circle of friends and finally making him feel accepted.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is oozing with high school clichés and has quite a bit of tacky dialogue, but, for the most part, it works in the film’s favor. The innocence of the material matches Charlie’s naivety and the combination creates this overwhelmingly sweet and seemingly harmless environment. However, then drugs, alcohol and some really disturbing scenarios juxtapose that innocence, making “Perks” much more than any other face value high school drama.

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Review: Our Idiot Brother

Yes, there’s the saying, “nice guys finish last,” and that’s certainly the case for <I>Our Idiot Brother</I>’s Ned (Paul Rudd) quite often, but when you’re considering movies, nice movies can get a bit of a boost even when they don’t entirely deserve it. <I>Our Idiot Brother</I> is undoubtedly flawed, but director Jesse Peretz turns up the charm with ease, bringing the best out of his talented cast and some impressively honest, humorous and heartwarming dialogue to overshadow nearly every fault.

Ned is, well, Miranda, Liz and Natalie’s (Elizabeth Banks, Emily Mortimer and Zooey Deschanel) idiot brother. Perhaps the term “idiot” is a bit harsh; Ned is just incredibly peppy and a bit too trusting. Then again, most would call a guy who opts to appease a uniformed cop looking for some weed an idiot. After serving eight months in prison, Ned is released, turned away by his girlfriend and denied ownership of his beloved dog, Willie Nelson.

With no job, no home and a criminal record, Ned turns to his family for support. Everyone welcomes him with open arms, beginning with his mother. However, Ned’s happy-go-lucky ways have the tendency to get him in trouble, forcing each of his sisters to eventually kick him to the curb and send him onto the next.

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