April 21, 2019

Winnipeg
18° C, Partly cloudy

Full Forecast

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Sort-of rom-com Admission has unexpected dark side

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/3/2013 (2221 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The poster for this film suggests a romantic comedy with two appealing, attractive leads -- Tina Fey and Paul Rudd -- with a smart, cynical edge... or at least more of a smart cynical edge than you would find in, say, a Garry Marshall movie.

It's false packaging. Admission is barely a rom-com at all, and contrary to what we might expect of 30 Rock writer-star-smartass Tina Fey, it is a surprisingly earnest and sympathetic piece of work.

In the feminist spirit of one particular character, this is a movie about a woman forcefully busting her way into a domain usually reserved for men: the mid-life crisis.

Fey's character, Portia Nathan, is certainly a woman with some baggage for that trip. Her mom (Lily Tomlin) is a Bella Abzug-era hardcore feminist so self-reliant, she doesn't bother to tell her daughter she's had a double-mastectomy. Portia's live-in boyfriend Mark (Michael Sheen) is an over-baked squash of a man, barely capable of giving Portia the news he is moving out to get married to the Virginia Woolf scholar he so carelessly impregnated.

Get the full story.
No credit card required. Cancel anytime.

Join free for 30 days

After that, pay as little as $0.99 per month for the best local news coverage in Manitoba.

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Join free for 30 days

 

Already a subscriber?

Log in

Subscribers Log in below to continue reading,
not a subscriber? Create an account to start a 30 day free trial.

Log in Create your account

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

Your free trial has come to an end.

We hope you have enjoyed your trial! To continue reading, we recommend our Read Now Pay Later membership. Simply add a form of payment and pay only 27¢ per article.

For unlimited access to the best local, national, and international news and much more, try an All Access Digital subscription:

Thank you for supporting the journalism that our community needs!

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Mon to Sat Delivery

Pay

$34.36

per month

  • Includes all benefits of All Access Digital
  • 6-day delivery of our award-winning newspaper
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

We hope you have enjoyed your free trial!

To continue reading, select a plan below:

Read Now Pay Later

Pay

27¢

per article

  • Commitment-free
  • Cancel anytime
  • Only pay for what you read
  • Refunds available
Continue

All Access Digital

Introductory pricing*

99¢

per month

  • Unlimited online reading and commenting
  • Daily newspaper replica e-Edition
  • News Break - our award-winning iOS app
  • Exclusive perks & discounts
Continue

*Introductory pricing schedule for 12 month: $0.99/month plus tax for first 3 months, $5.99/month for months 4 - 6, $10.99/month for months 7 - 9, $13.99/month for months 10 - 12. Standard All Access Digital rate of $16.99/month begins after first year.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/3/2013 (2221 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

 A wannabe Princeton student bends over backwards to impress admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey).

FOCUS FEATURES

A wannabe Princeton student bends over backwards to impress admissions officer Portia Nathan (Tina Fey).

The poster for this film suggests a romantic comedy with two appealing, attractive leads — Tina Fey and Paul Rudd — with a smart, cynical edge... or at least more of a smart cynical edge than you would find in, say, a Garry Marshall movie.

It's false packaging. Admission is barely a rom-com at all, and contrary to what we might expect of 30 Rock writer-star-smartass Tina Fey, it is a surprisingly earnest and sympathetic piece of work.

In the feminist spirit of one particular character, this is a movie about a woman forcefully busting her way into a domain usually reserved for men: the mid-life crisis.

Fey's character, Portia Nathan, is certainly a woman with some baggage for that trip. Her mom (Lily Tomlin) is a Bella Abzug-era hardcore feminist so self-reliant, she doesn't bother to tell her daughter she's had a double-mastectomy. Portia's live-in boyfriend Mark (Michael Sheen) is an over-baked squash of a man, barely capable of giving Portia the news he is moving out to get married to the Virginia Woolf scholar he so carelessly impregnated.

There is also her career. Within the exalted halls of academe Portia occupies, it is her job to destroy the dreams of most of the students who apply to Princeton University for admission. The vast majority of applicants will be rejected. At the same time, Portia is expected to visit schools all over the northeast U.S. to tantalize high school kids into applying.

It is on one of these sojourns where Portia reunites with old Dartmouth classmate John Pressman (Rudd), a whole-grain alternative educator whose New Quest school houses a nest of free-thinkers who actually challenge Portia's mission. Among these is a young lad named Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), a genius who wants to go to Princeton, but lacks an impressive transcript to prove his genius.

Pressman presses Portia to help Jeremiah get accepted to Princeton by unleashing a bombshell: He thinks Jeremiah is the child Portia gave up for adoption years earlier.

Portia finds herself in a double-bind. She is attracted to John and wants to do the right thing for Jeremiah, but both those relationships represent a conflict of interest in her capacity as an admissions officer.

With a few tweaks, this could have been a thoroughly conventional rom-com. But Paul Weitz, directing Karen Croner's adaptation of a novel by Jean Hanff Korelitz, doesn't take that well-trodden pop path. Weitz shoots for a character comedy with some dark shadings. Occasionally, this results in some awkward shifts of tone, suggesting Weitz was eager to put too many eggs in a single basket. (Forgive the fertility inference.)

But Fey pulls it all together, proving herself up for the task of venturing into some dramatic deep water after years of playing in the fun, flotsam-filled shallows of 30 Rock's Liz Lemon.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

 

Other voices

Excerpts of reviews of Admission:

 

If Admission were sharper, it could be the ultimate Mother's Day movie: a picture about a non-mother who cares deeply for the next generation, even when it hasn't sprung directly from her own womb.

— Stephanie Zacharek, Village Voice

 

What should be a hilarious, long-overdue pairing of two hugely likable, superstar comedians ends up being a major disappointment with Admission.

— Christy Lemire, Associated Press

 

The biggest problem with this movie is that Tina Fey didn't write it.

— Joanna Langfield, The Movie Minute

 

It's not a particularly satisfying comedy, but thanks to the cast and some of the odd directions it takes, Admission is an intensely likable one.

— Roger Moore, Movie Nation

Randall King

Randall King
Reporter

In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

You can comment on most stories on The Winnipeg Free Press website. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press print or digital subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to The Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

By submitting your comment, you agree to abide by our Community Standards and Moderation Policy. These guidelines were revised effective February 27, 2019. Have a question about our comment forum? Check our frequently asked questions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us