Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) isn’t accepted into any college, but to avoid angering his parents he makes up a college and forges an acceptance letter. Things begin to spiral when his parents want to see the college and meet the Dean. After fooling the parents with a fake website and an abandoned mental institution Bartleby thinks things are under control, but suddenly other students begin arriving. They have all been accepted because there is a button on the website that says acceptance is one click away. This doesn’t explain how they received acceptance letters without anyone sending them, but this is just one of many holes in the plot.
The plot devices used in Accepted may seem familiar because they have been used many times, and recently by a much more successful college comedy; Old School. A snooty Ivy League villain wants to take control and buy the location of the fake school, ultimately foiling our “heroes” of their scheme. The problem with our hero is that he is a bit of a tool. We are supposed to root for the leading guy to win the girl, and as is often the case “the girl” is already dating an extremely handsome and popular frat guy. The difference is that he seems to be a sincerely nice guy until our “hero” is a complete jerk to him in order to make the girl laugh, which she does. This also makes the leading girl seem shallow. It is almost as if we are just expected to be on the side of Bartleby merely because he is the main character, even though he is not very likable.
Justin Long has had a short career but already has worked with some of the best names in comedy right now. Accepted seems to be his proof that he can be the leading actor for a change, and he seems to be trying to use what he learned from Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Ryan Reynolds, but this just makes much of his performance a cheap imitation. I could imagine each of these actors in his role and it was far too easy to imagine Long not starring in the film. This doesn’t bode well for his success as a leading man. Long tries to throw in the occasional random slapstick humor as well, almost as if to prove that he can do all kinds of humor. This obvious display of ability is not that funny because it doesn’t fit in the story and it certainly doesn’t seem to fit with the character, leaving the obvious conclusion that they only fit with the amateur leading actor.
Many of the scenes seem loosely improved, which often leads to large holes in the plot. Certain facts are inexcusably left out and dialogue contradicts the script itself. There doesn’t seem to be much order, but somehow it still manages to remain entertaining, if not frustrating to any audience member thinking about what they are watching. The biggest hole in the story is that all of the students who were rejected from every other school seem to live in a world where Community Colleges don’t exist. This is necessary to give Bartleby his cause to fight for, but like the house built upon sand the plot is not at all sturdy.
Entertainment Value: 6/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4/10
Historical Significance: 1/10