Stealing Harvard

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, language and drug references
Starring: Jason Lee, Tom Green
Directed By:Bruce McCulloch

Final Grade:

When I first started Box Office Boredom a year ago, (yes that was I! Original creator and webmaster in the day (Michael couldn’t even make his name appear on an HTML document let alone know what a good movie review looked like)) I always told myself I was going to make it big as a film critic. Soon I got emails with corrections for “miss-speld” words. The words were never the complex ones; it was stupid words like “the.” When I typed reviews at 3 am, I must have thought “the” was spelled T-E-H. I don’t know why. Never the less, I told myself “If I work hard and follow my dreams, everything will work out.” A year later, I’m still here, still spelling “the” wrong and am far from a film critic, (but it’s fun to play one on the web!)

Stealing Harvard is the story of someone just like me. Noreen Plummer was your average kid. Her father walked out on her “white trash” mother, so her Uncle John (Jason Lee) always tried to play the father figure in her life. But playing the father figure can have its downfalls. When a young Noreen misspells the word “tarp” at a 5th grade spelling bee, John promises her that if she works hard and follows her dreams everything will work out. On top of that he tells her that if she gets into college, Uncle John will pay for it. So when Noreen makes it into Harvard she tries to collect from good old Uncle John. Unable to tell her no, and $30,000 short he goes to old friend Walter Duffy (Tom Green) who plots to help him steal the money that will send Noreen to college.

Well Stealing Harvard at 5 AM proved to be somewhat of a treat. Not because it was pure genius, and not because it was a well-written comedy, but because it was pure fun. Plus when you add the cast of Tom Green and Jason Lee on the screen, you never know what you are going to get. This time it proved to be a positive. Sure, the plot of the movie was pointless and dumb, but if you expected more after seeing the trailer (or after seeing Tom Green’s name in it) I already pity you…

Jason Lee is always a joy to watch on the screen. Lee is becoming one of the better supporting actors I’ve seen, and to see him with some leads every now in then is a nice treat for a man with such great talent. Plus, Lee’s success story is one that leaves hopes for even the likes of people like me. You see Jason Lee back in the day (Pre-Mallrats) was a down on his luck skateboarder who managed to make it big in Hollywood when discovered by director Kevin Smith. (See there is hope for me…maybe) As for Tom Green, I am not so sure if he is a joy to watch, but he certainly is something to watch. Green’s stupid humor and outrageous antics can make him anything from a comic genius or look like an MTV’s Jackass reject. Tom Green fan or not, you probably found him quasi-entertaining in Road Trip but a moron in Freddy Got Fingered. Think of Stealing Harvard as a weak attempt at Road Trip fame once again. It’s not Green’s best work, but honestly is there such a thing as quality work when it comes to Tom Green? In the long run Lee’s work on the screen made the film despite its stupidity work, and well Tom Green just makes the stupidity less stupid.

Now the idea of stealing $30,000 is completely ludicrous and John and Duff’s ideas to get away with it are even more so. Their attempts at this lead to one stupid thing after another, and after a while you wonder if it would have been just easier to take out a loan. Add that up with a subplot of a father-in-law to be who doesn’t want John to marry his daughter, and a fiancé that cries during sex, you get a story that nearly becomes to stupid to actually believe by the end.

But is Stealing Harvard in the end worth the cash? Sure, why not. Right now with it playing at North Grand 5 the price is only $1. (Cheap plug) So if you are looking for a mindless comedy then come check it out. It’s better than Serving Sara and that lasted at North Grand for 2 weeks. Help Stealing Harvard stay just as long or more. Hop in line and check it out. It may not be the best thing out there, but hey you could always do worse!

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