Today’s Prayer Focus

Old School

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for some strong sexual content, nudity and language.

Reviewed by: Megan Basham

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Only
Genre: Comedy
Length: 1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release: 2003
USA Release:
Will Ferrell in Old School, copyright, DreamWorks Vince Vaughn and Luke Wilson, courtesy Dreamworks
Featuring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Juliette Lewis, Ellen Pompeo
Director Todd Phillips
Producer Dan Goldberg, Joe Medjuck, Todd Phillips
Distributor: Dreamworks. Trademark logo.
DreamWorks Pictures
, aka DreamWorks Studios, a production label of Amblin Partners

What to say about “Old School”, a film where three self-centered men (for lack of a better term) in their 30s try to relive their college glory days by starting a free-for-all fraternity near their old campus?

While not one of these three main characters could actually be considered sympathetic, Director Todd Phillips apparently wants the audience to break the guys down this way: Mitch (Luke Wilson) is the loyal husband who comes home from work to find his handcuffed wife about to engage in a threesome with blindfolded strangers. Devastated and confused, he turns to his two best friends, Beanie and Frank, for comfort and counsel.

Beanie (Vince Vaughn) is a family man who despises his family, and so to help Mitch, comes up with a plan that will mend not only his friend’s heart, but his own sagging sense of masculinity as well. Desperate to create a boy’s club where he can escape the nuisance of said family, Beanie masterminds the “fraternity house salvation plan.” Friend number two, Frank the Tank (Will Ferrell), once a beer-guzzling campus idol who now finds himself the hen-pecked fianc of a Martha Stewart-esqe bride-to-be, is only too desperate to be included in the fun.

Based on this skeletal description, any first-year screenwriting student could guess where the plot goes from here. From K-Y jelly wrestling matches to women practicing oral sex on vegetables, “Old School” is about as immoral a muck-heap of squalor as any corrupt (albeit simple) human mind could invent.

The sanctity of marriage is not just undermined in this film, it is spitefully trampled on. “Old School”’s implication is that all men in Beanie’s situation feel suffocated, care little for their families, and are just waiting for a chance to throw off their adult responsibilities. And even Mitch, the supposed good guy, shows virtually no remorse for committing statutory rape with a teenage girl. In fact, a major running gag throughout the movie is whether her father, Mitch’s boss, will find out.

Beyond all that, the film, with the exception of Will Ferrell, isn’t even all that funny. Chock full of clichs and cheap sight gags, it’s time somebody let Hollywood know that the “evil-dean-trying-to-shut-the-party-down” bit worked once—in “Animal House”—and it need never be revisited again. In the spirit of honesty, it must be admitted again that Ferrell, as a comic talent, can’t help but shine in even the most sophomoric material. But my advice to him (and to all the somewhat gifted actors in this film): Next time, have a little respect for yourselves and choose a project worthy of your talents rather than go for the big, easy paycheck. You’ll respect yourselves more in morning.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Neutral—From a Christian standpoint, this movie is pretty much the poster-child for everything that we believe is sick, filthy, and overall wrong. From a real-world standpoint, this movie relates with the film “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” Both of these films were considered extremely offensive for their times and both have or will go down as being college film classics. Be warned, the material that this movie contains is extremely perverse. The only reason why one might wish to view this film is Will Ferell. He almost makes up for the rest of the film being as sick and perverse as it is. But, it can be considered to be extremely offensive. There are no Christian morals to speak of throughout the film, so it’s probably not reccomended to be viewed if you are easily offended or even if it’s hard to offend you. I’m sure at least one sceen will make you feel guilty. But if you are up to viewing this film, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Christians, you might want to stay away. Everyone else, you also might wish to stay away. Sick is sick.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 3]
Dub, age 16
Negative—This movie was disgusting and a disgrace to all Christians. It involves nudity and sexual content and should not be rated R but worse due to its content. This movie was extremely offensive and I left during the first 5 minutes.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
Megan, age 18
Negative—I saw the premiere of this movie and found it very inappropriate. The movie is offensive right from the start. There was so much sexual content/humor throughout the entire story. I was disappointed because I think Luke Wilson is a good actor. It would have been a funny movie minus all the nudity and content it showed.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive / 3]
Paula, age 24
Negative—I was totally disgusted by this movie. My husband and I thought this might be along the lines of the old Animal House—wrong. It focused on men not wanting to honor their wives or respect their marriages. Everytime someone was excited or happy, profanities were used as their adverbs, making it a part of everyday language. Don’t see it.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
Donna Huber, age 42
Negative—Without knowing about this movie or paying for my own ticket, I was hurtled into watching “Old School”, the most awful movie I have ever seen. The language and sexual content (both verbally and visually) were depressing. I’m ashamed that I did not walk out.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive / 1]
J. Berg, age 17