Movie review: 'Admission'

If “Admission” lacks the teeth to be a truly biting satire on the madness of the college selection ordeal, it works some genial magic as an old-fashioned romantic comedy with a light message and dramatic undertones to give it some academic heft.
BY DENNIS KING Modified: March 21, 2013 at 2:47 pm •  Published: March 22, 2013

In the midst of Portia's agonizing over Jeremiah's identity and his worthiness for Princeton mantles, a grudging romance sparks up with the well-meaning but footloose and paternalistic John.

Weitz, who seems to alternate between personal films (“Being Flynn”) and for-hire jobs (“Little Fockers”), navigates the meandering story and its tonal shifts, not always smoothly, through some odd twists and turns. But his uncertainty with the material is redeemed somewhat by pithy performances from his cast.

Fey and Rudd form an amiable if unexciting couple. They exude a breezy and enjoyable chemistry without generating much real heat. Wolff turns in an easygoing but confident performance in a tricky role as the teen savant. And Tomlin virtually steals the movie with her prickly, caution-to-the-winds performance as the old-school bra burner.

If “Admission” lacks the teeth to be a truly biting satire on the madness of the college selection ordeal, it works some genial magic as an old-fashioned romantic comedy with a light message and dramatic undertones to give it some academic heft.

— Dennis King