With two of Hollywood’s most consistently funny and charming actors topping the bill, a fitting subtitle for Admission could have been “Oh My God, Tina Fey and Paul Rudd: I Love Them!” Fey stars as Portia, a strait-laced admissions officer at Princeton University whose uneventful life is intruded upon by her former classmate John (Rudd), a well-meaning high school teacher. John wants to introduce Portia to his student Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), who he believes would make a great addition to Princeton. Unfortunately, Jeremiah is far from Princeton material. But when John reveals a secret about Jeremiah that changes everything, Portia must decide how to intervene, while also managing her romantic feelings for John.
The premise is a bit outlandish from the start, and only becomes more so as the action escalates at a rapid clip. Admission is run-through with subplots surrounding Portia’s militant feminist/academic mother (Lily Tomlin), John’s adopted son, and the sad sack professor (Michael Sheen) who leaves Portia for a vile Virginia Woolf scholar (Sonya Walger).
Because all these narrative threads are presented with equal emphasis, no single one feels fully developed. And Fey and Rudd’s screen time together is rushed; audiences don’t get the chance to become invested in their characters. Even so, they’re a very likable pair, and render Admission an enjoyable, if light, movie.
By Katrina Day
This review appears in the Apr/May 2013 issue of BUST Magazine with cover girl Grimes. Subscribe now.