EDITOR'S NOTE: “College” opened in theaters last Friday but was not screened for critics.
Josh Peck of TV's “Drake & Josh” left his kiddie TV show days behind him with the indie coming-of-age dramedy “The Wackness” this summer, playing a pot dealer who finds love and sex over one magical summer before college. Drake Bell of TV's “Drake & Josh” – he plays Drake, y'see – tries to go Josh one better, or worse, in “College,” a raunchy comedy that plays like a “Superbad” without the smarts, the heart, the originality or the laughs.
Oh, to have a 16-year-old son or daughter, just so I could tell them, “No way you're seeing that junk.”
Kevin (Bell) is a high school senior heading to his visitation weekend at Fieldmont University. His girlfriend has just dumped him for being boring. His bookish classmate Morris (Kevin Covais) wants to really go and tour the campus, maybe land a scholarship. But slovenly, party-hearty pal Carter (Andrew Caldwell) figures it's time for Kevin to get his freak on.
After rejecting the dorm room of a chronic masturbator as their home for the weekend, they stay at a frat house, where the “Animal House” cast-offs proceed to torment, haze, abuse and rob them in between beer busts and topless parties with all manner of compliant coeds.
Naturally, the high school lads hook up. If only they can stop being distracted by the beer, pot and nitrous oxide abuse, the endless shots of Penthouse centerfolds making out with one another (director Deb Hagan, what are you trying to tell us, hmmm?), maybe they'll find true love with older women.
The explicit how-to manual on how to do “body shots,” play quarters and assorted other chugging games is more irresponsible than amusing. It should be amusingly irresponsible. The juvenile homophobia isn't funny, either.
And Bell? He's relegated to straight-man status, trying to keep the peace between his nerd-cliche pal and his butt-gut Chris Farley-clone pal.
“Enough, you guys!”
Haley Bennett is the dull, somewhat pretty girl who tickles Kevin's fancy. She doesn't have anything funny to do either.
Some nudity, some revolting pranks, some more revolting trips into the toilet, and a script littered with f-bombs, and then you see on his resume that Bell is still planning on doing a Drake & Josh Christmas special.
Is their Nickelodeon audience old enough for “College”? Or did they mature right past it? If they have good parents, they will.