47 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Sort of an Animal House 25th anniversary tribute.,
"Old School" brings back the fun and irreverence of the days of "Animal House" that so few movies seem willing to revisit. Comedy these days seems built around 'paint-by-numbers' formulas or 'let's see how much we can gross people out' shock characteristics. Current releases like "Boat Trip" and "Bringing Down the House" fall in the former category while any movie involving Tom Green or the Farrelly Brothers falls into the latter category. In "Old School", it's refreshing to see a movie that takes a 'devil may care' attitude with its plot and characters while also have the common sense to push the envelope where appropriate without ever crossing the line (following "Animal House's" lead).
In "Old School", Mitch (played by Luke Wilson) is depressed after a breakup with his longtime girlfriend. He moves into a new house near the local college campus and his two best friends, Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank 'the Tank' (Will Ferrell) decide to cheer him up by using his new house to throw a wild 'freedom' party. In a party complete with nubile co-eds, binge drinking, and a performance by Snoop Dogg, the party becomes legendary and draws the ire of the college dean, who just happens to be some nerd that Mitch, Beanie, and Frank tormented in high school. He attempts to take the house from Mitch by claiming it can only be used for campus-related events. This sparks Beanie's imagination to create the most unorthodox fraternity in existence to circumvent the dean's ruling. From there, "Old School" engages in the type of 'us against the administration' hi-jinx that made "Animal House" such a riot.
Will Ferrell gives a performance worthy of John Belushi with his Bluto-esque take as Frank the Tank, whose relapse back into his college days fractures his brand new marriage. Yet, it doesn't seem to affect Frank too too much. Ferrell, as witnessed by his years on Saturday Night Live, is one of the more gifted physical comedians performing today. He has the lunacy of a Jim Carrey without any of the pretentiousness or self-importance that seems to plague Carrey. Vince Vaughn gives another winning performance as a typical, sleazy salesman type who remains just enough on the side of respectability that you still like the guy. It's classic Vaughn. Luke Wilson's performance isn't quite as memorable, but his lovable-loser demeanor fits the role of Mitch perfectly. There are a number of other supporting characters that, while barely more than one-dimensional, make this film a winner (Blue, the 80-year fraternity pledge is a personal favorite).
With world events becoming more somber and depressing and with movies becoming increasingly disappointing, it's quite a relief a no-frills good time can be had at a theater. "Old School" lets the audience feel that kind of relief.