Stealing Harvard


John (Jason Lee) lives a relatively pleasant existence… Except that he hates his job, his girlfriend (Leslie Mann) can be pushy and bitchy and his father-in-law (Dennis Farina) is an overprotective madman! Oh, and he once promised the daughter of his slutty trailer-trash sister that he would pay for her college education, and now that she got into Harvard she expects him to foot the 30 000$ bill! He must now turn to his buddy Duff (Tom Green), a man “whose ideas were sometimes so dumb that they were brilliant”. Yeah, like going on a crime spree bound to failure…

And hilarity? More or less. Writer Peter Tolan’s idea of comedy involves such ingenious things as dogs biting crotches, men in drag, lost cats, crazy cops and a girl who cries during sex. Heh heh. “Stealing Harvard” is about as misguided as director (and former Kid in the Hall) Bruce McCullough’s previous movie, “Superstar”, and again the few big laughs to be found belong to fellow Canadian funnyman Tom Green.

I usually love Jason Lee, and he’s sympathetic enough here, but he should stick to playing the smart-ass sidekick. Or if he still wants to be the straight man, he needs to find projects in which the serious, sappy scenes aren’t so trite and dull. What I like about Green is that unlike Lee, he doesn’t go for earnestness. Green seems to know that the material is lousy and unfunny, so he throws himself out there, not necessarily to get laughs but just to get a reaction, any reaction. Some people obviously don’t go for his brand of manic absurdity, as shows the relentless beating his Freddy Got Fingered received from critics, but I can’t get enough of it.

As bad as “Stealing Harvard” is, I’m still glad I saw it for the hilarious antics of shaggy-haired redneck Duff. What more can I say? If you can’t stand Tom Green, avoid the film like the plague, but if you enjoy his bizarro sense of humor, you’ll have a pretty good time.