Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rules of protraction

Smart and emotionally inveigling, “Admission” is a romantic comedy-drama that stars Tina Fey as a predictable Princeton admissions officer, Portia Nathan, tasked with choosing potential students for the university. Contacted by an unconventional teacher, John (Paul Rudd), Portia meets his most promising student Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), who doesn’t fit Princeton’s mold, but shows signs of being more than worthy to study there.

“Admission” is sophisticated, much like its many seemingly typical characters, but it does fall into similar formula-traps as more “regular” rom-coms and dramas on occasion. However, Fey is just brilliant in this; she’s practically the go-to actress for smart female characters that are initially unloved and periodically awkward, so Portia is a snug fit. She and John make a fine sort-of couple; chemistry with Rudd is obvious, and the onscreen tandem’s a match that could work beyond this project.

The film has its share of giggle-worthy moments, primarily provided by Fey, but enhanced tremendously by Lily Tomlin, who plays Portia’s fiercely independent mother. As for “Admission’s” more dramatic side, the film manages to slip in and out of its more serious tone without compromising its deeper parenting and nepotism themes. It’s much heavier and considerably less feelgood than the usual Tina Fey project, but her impassioned portrayal and inherent likability are definitely worth the price of admission.

“Admission” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive. 

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