Saturday, April 11, 2015

PCU (1994)

Directed By: Hart Bochner 
Written By: Zak Penn & Adam Leff 
Cinematography By: Reynaldo Villalobos 
Editor: Nicholas C. Smith 

Cast: Jeremy Piven, Chris Young, Alex Desert, Megan Ward, David Spade, Jessica Walter, Jon Favreau, Sarah Trigger, Jake Busey, Maddie Corman, Matt Ross

A high school senior comes to visit Port Chester (aka Politically Correct U) for the weekend, and the admissions department mistakenly sets him up to stay with Droz, a seven year student and party-animal who lives in The Pit, the most offensive house on campus. After trying to pawn the pre-freshman off on his house mate, Droz sets off on his normal daily activities including disrupting a political protest by throwing meat at a group of vegan protesters. The President of the University then receives a number of complaints, and with the help of her lackey, she may finally have the power to kick Droz's house off campus. But the Pit throws an all-campus rager where George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic performs, and everything might turn out alright if the various political groups can forget their protests for one night and just have fun together

An interesting premise that is cheated by it's own sense to please. Not having the bravery to be itself and stand apart. Though then again as a broad comedy it seeks to be universal

PCU was made by a graduate of Wesleyan University, and is based on the school. In the opening sequence, there is a shot of the main library (Olin) and one of the residence halls (Clark) of the school, in Middletown, CT..

By now this film is ridiculously dated, it also looks cheap. It would be an ok film of the right elements lined up. Like if the film was as smart as it seems to think it is. Then it might have been a low-brow satire. Instead it comes off as a typical college comedy without all the hallmarks that most go to see college comedies for. Nudity, sex scenes and low-brow humor. The last part the film tries to have yet fails many times with.

The scores playing college students look way past the age of the characters they are supposed to be playing. They all look like middle aged adults trying to play younger and look unbelievable, and not in a good way.

Jeremy Piven while energetic and charismatic looks like someone's dad trying to be hip or the college professor who thinks he is cool. While he may talk fast he is no classic Chevy Chase and while that can be a good thing. It can also be bad depending on how you look at it. He is not even a classic Dan Ackroyd. Though he is one of the better elements of the film, the only other actor who makes a mark is David Spade as the villain. He has a handful of good lines and is weasely, and Jon Favreau in dreadlocks the horror! The horror!

According to Jeremy Piven, director Hart Bochner would not allow actors to improvise. He was able to include only limited improvisation such as "Don't be that guy" and only after enlisting the help of the writers. Bochner disputes this saying he allowed improvisation on the set by shooting scenes his way and then doing it Piven's way.

This comedy was dated even by the time it was released. I know because I remember it coming out. When I saw the trailers I even thought it looked lame back then and it still is, it seems almost like the studio just wanted to catch onto a fad. So they threw a limited story around generation x and the stereotypes around them.

I can count on two hands the number of times I laughed and not hearty laughs either. Not really a chuckle maybe a giggle, but that sounds too girly. So let's just go with a general amalgam of laugh. It could mean any type.

What hurts the film is that it is a basic college comedy that Shism have been a straight to video film or a USA: UP ALL NIGHT type of film. Rather than a weak theatrical release that doesn't have any true racy hallmarks that films of it's type are known for.

This is just a bad film. It's of no surprise the director Hart Bochner who you may remember as the yuppie scum In the film DIE HARD. Who gets killed. Went onto direct another unfunny movie this one more of a send up by the name of HIGH SCHOOL HIGH staring Jon Lovitz.

If you want a Generation X, comedy you are better off renting REALITY BITES which also features David spade. If you want a superior college comedy rent ANIMAL HOUSE if you want an intelligent recent college comedy rent DEAR WHITE PEOPLE. When it comes to this film think of DAZED AND CONFUSED remember what you liked about that film. This movie is the complete opposite.

Plot lines include a high school senior touring the campus who is our introduction to the college and we abandon him quite regularly. Though when he is on screen he is pulled in two different directions by opposing frats. The conservative frat trying to shutdown the party frat and take over their house. The party frat throwing a big party to help save the house. A Gene Hackman or Michael Caine movie always being on somewhere on cable for a week.

P-Funk was not the first choice for the band at the party. Originally Nirvana was scripted to play, but they were too expensive. The Goo Goo Dolls were considered, but Hart Bochner thought that they wouldn't be recognized in America because they weren't well-known at the time. Bochner finally decided on P-Funk.

The film tries but constantly feels like it has settled into slapstick instead of a smart satire. That by the end uses liberal philosophy that everyone no matter what enjoys a party no matter what you believe In.

Grade: D

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