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Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in this hilarious and heartwarming comedy about the unexpected detours we encounter on the road to happiness. Year in and year out, Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) has lived her life by the book. But during her annual recruiting trip, she finds herself reconnecting with a former college classmate, free-spirited teacher John Pressman (Rudd). As she bends the entrance rules for one of his very unconventional students, Portia puts at risk the future she thought she always wanted, and finds her way to a surprising and exhilarating life she never dreamed of having. From director Paul Weitz (In Good Company), and co-starring Michael Sheen and Lily Tomlin, it’s the feel-good movie critics call “funny and fresh!” (Glenn Kenny, MSN Movies)
To describe Tina Fey's character in Admission as a "Liz Lemon type" wouldn't be completely accurate. Portia Nathan, her Princeton admissions officer, exhibits fewer nerd tendencies than Fey's 30 Rock producer, but her professional life also trumps her personal one. Though she has a longtime boyfriend (Michael Sheen), he treats her more like a pal than a partner, and her relationship with her radical mother (Lily Tomlin) has always been rocky, but on a visit to an alternative high school to recruit applicants, her staid world undergoes a profound shift. First, she meets educator John Pressman (Paul Rudd), a college acquaintance who has also struggled to distinguish himself from his family, and then she meets Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), a self-taught genius with poor grades and high test scores. John believes Jeremiah deserves a place at Princeton--and that he's the child she gave up for adoption 18 years before. Portia struggles to avoid favoritism, while giving Jeremiah a chance at an Ivy League education and convincing her boss (Wally Shawn) that she deserves to lead the admissions department over her passive-aggressive colleague (Gloria Reuben). To complicate matters further, she finds herself attracted to John, a single father with an adopted son. The conclusion combines the expected with the unforeseen, a trademark of In Good Company director Paul Weitz, who wrings more tears from Jean Hanff Korelitz's novel than laughs, but Fey keeps Portia sympathetic even as she makes a few moral miscalculations en route to a new and different future. --Kathleen C Fennessy
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As advertised, Tina plays the role of one of the members of the admissions committee at Princeton, and receives a call from a long-ago classmate, now running a very "alternative" high school and asking her to take a look at a kid he feels is very promising as a potential Princeton admission. Tina agrees to come have a look-see, and the first bit of subtle comedy is how very different this high school is from strait-laced Princeton. Drama and romance come in as Tina's relationship with a colleague at Princeton unexpectedly ends as he dumps her for a young attractive grad student, and on the rebound, Tina unexpectedly finds herself somewhat attracted to Rudd, who runs this high school.
The kid doesn't have the kind of scholastic scores or pedigree that would usually be considered a great Princeton candidate, but Rudd has his own reasons for insisting Tina go to bat for him, and eventually she does.
The story has several ups and downs and turns of plot, but ends up on a reasonably upbeat note, with the unoriginal message that no matter how carefully you think you have life planned out, there are always surprises in store to disrupt your plans.
Tina and Paul didn't quite seem to make one of film history's most-famous romantic pairs (not as awkward as Murray and Weaver in Ghostbusters, at least). There's no nudity or vulgarity or violence; for a PG-13 film nowadays it's pretty tame. It's worth an hour and a half of entertainment that doesn't require a lot of thought or effort to follow along.
People tend to stereotype Tina Fey and Paul Rudd as just comedians. I'm glad they stepped outside this role to play serious romantic characters. This movie may not be everyone's cup of tea, but for us, it hit the spot.
The concept of the movie was different and will take you on a lot of turns. It's not necessarily one I'd watch on repeat constantly, but it was well worth the movie rental price, and I'd watch it again.