In today's fraught academic environment, a film such as Admission seems a sure bet. Paul Weitz's light comedy is adapted from Jean Hanff Korelitz's novel, which told the behind-the-scenes tale of how the admissions department at Princeton picks the oh-so-very-few students from the zillions who apply.
The tale, related by one admissions officer, seemed to spill enough insider dirt to almost qualify as a manual, and it cut the hows and whys of the paperwork with more familiar storylines, including a light satire of academia and a multigenerational melodrama about love and family. The film, alas, mostly focuses on the latter, turning Admission into mildly amusing rom-com.
Admissions vet Portia (Tina Fey) finds her life and judgment coming undone after meeting John (Paul Rudd), the charming head of an alternative high school, who approaches her to pitch a prospective student. Things get tangled –— and mildly unethical — quickly, but no circumstance or emotion is ever in danger in this frothy exercise.
Fey and Rudd are likable, and you can almost forgive them their rom-com stupid scenes. (And who doesn't like seeing supporting actors Lily Tomlin and Wallace Shawn in anything?) But this is mostly a less frantic, slightly more mature version of the same old rom-com — you know, hardly Princeton material.