EV @ The Movies: Stealing Harvard
Comedy is a genre that attempts to promote laughter and light-hearted fun.
Stealing Harvard, by definition, is not just a comedy, but instead a movie that has caused mass hysteria and pandemonium inside theatres across America due to its relentless gag scenes and surprising sub-plots.
Jason Lee, who has engaged himself in comparably bland movies such as Almost Famous, Chasing Amy, Dogma, and Mallrats, shines in the film, playing a young executive named John Plummer. Plummer works for a firm owned by his inquisitive father-in-law to be played by Dennis Farina, and is subjected by his elder to quizzes regarding his physical relationship with Plummer's fiancé.
When Plummer's niece is accepted to Harvard, his sister reminds him that he is responsible for paying for his niece's education. This easy-to-afford, acceptable task for a twenty-something middle class man is given to Plummer because of a promise he made to his niece when she was a young girl. He told his niece that he would pay for her education if she ever was accepted to Harvard, perhaps thinking the girl wasn't quite Harvard material. This touching scene was perfectly captured on home video, thus putting Plummer on the spot.
Plummer seeks the aid of his lifelong friend Duff (Tom Green), who suggests that crime is obviously the best way to raise money. Hilarity thus ensues.
Peter Tolan's script writing abilities shine in Stealing Harvard, surpassing other relatively unsuccessful attempts at comedy such as Analyze This. His talent in writing inexplicable and irrelevant, yet awe-inspiring sequences is something to be treasured.
The first scene with Tolan's touch is that of Plummer's visit to his sister's Patty's trailer. On his arrival, a man leaves buttoning his pants, suggesting some type of sexual activity has gone on. But the outrageousness doesn't end there, for as the scene progresses more and more men leave the room, hinting at Patty's out of the ordinary fetishes.
Other scenes that produce laughter are those that take place in the widowed judge's mansion where a large stockpile of money sits. Every time a thief attempts to rob the judge, he forces him to dress in drag and pretends to be his deceased wife. What can possibly be funnier than a man in woman's clothing "spooning" with an old, perhaps insane, judge?
The part of this movie that will live on forever in film history occurs when a toothbrush is used to clean a man's rear end. Surprisingly, the toothbrush is later used for its intended purpose: brushing one's teeth.
Tom Green's acting prowess stems from his tasteful choices of roles, such as his character in Stealing Harvard and the one he played in Freddy Got Fingered. What other actors contain the foresight to see that scenes such as continually tossing a chair against a window and twirling a baby around his head by the umbilical chord could create such glowing reviews?
The only downfall of the movie was its rather short 83-minute running time. Art such as this deserves at the least three hours of exposure, and unfortunately Columbia Pictures did not allocate Tolan the ample amount of time to make this film an epic classic. Despite its singular fault, Stealing Harvard should sweep respected the many upcoming movie awards ceremonies.
Overall Grade: A