Art Reviews

Fake Students and an Imaginary College Set the Stage in the Hairbrained Film “Accepted”

Alexandria, VA – It’s August, and in a few weeks, many may head off to college to begin a quest for the “real world.” It could be scary at first. But at least they got legitimately accepted to a real college, right? In the goofball comedy Accepted, a group of high school graduates all want this college experience, but none receives the golden acceptance letter, so they make up their own school, find a vacant college-looking building, and start living a big lie. Everything looks great until their paper tiger of a school starts crumbling down.

In August 2006, filmmakers from Shady Acres Entertainment put out this fun, lighthearted, 93-minute adventure that delivers chuckle after chuckle as the hijinx grow throughout this hair-brained plot. They even threw in a side chuckle with the fictitious name, South Harmon Institute for Technology (S.H.I.T.). Can you imagine the college sweatshirts? (They are available on Amazon for $27.95.)

Justin Long plays Bartleby Gaines, the smart-aleck that thought up the ridiculous scheme and keeps a straight face throughout as he lives the lie. Maria Thayer plays Rory Thayer, the female sidekick. Jonah Hill is Sherman Schrader, who got accepted into a college but is helping his buddies live the same dream and creates the fake website.

It’s the students vs. the parents, and the students sort of come out on top, radiating vibes from past school films such as Animal House, Revenge of the Nerds, and Breakfast Club that many will relate to.

It’s one thing to make up a college of sorts, but that storyline can only go on so long, so in comes the preppy protagonist Travis Van Winkle, a clean-cut frat guy who’s the right-hand man of the nearby college dean. That college wants to tear down anything in the way of the real Harmon University, including the abandoned building the fake college is using. And Bartleby Gaines has a little sister who questions everything about the school the parents seem to be missing, adding more mayhem to the plot.

Accepted came out in 2006 and was the directorial debut of Steve Pink. Rotten Tomatoes initially gave it an approval rating of 38 percent, and it didn’t do badly on its opening weekend.

ICYMI: On Exhibit: Work of Local High School and College Students Featured at Nepenthe Gallery Until August 1

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