Stealing HarvardThursday 13 Mar 2003
Directed by Bruce McCulloch starring Jason Lee, Tom Green, Leslie Mann, Denis Farina, John C McGinley, Chris Penn, Megan Mullally and TammyBlanchard.
John Plummer (Lee) has just found himself haunted by a promise. When his niece Noreen (Blanchard) was little, he made a pledge to the youngster and her trailer trash mom (Mullally) that if she did well in school and got the grades, he would pay for her first year in Harvard. And now, years later, Noreen is holding the acceptance letter and Plummer has a crap job with his future father-in-law (Farina) and an unhinged fiancée (Mann) has accounted for every penny so they can buy their dream - starter - home.
Some would go back on their word, others would get a loan from their future father-in-law, but Plummer turns to crime and enlists the help of the one person not even the terminally desperate should approach: school buddy Walter 'Duff' Duffy (Green).
Like Philip Seymour Hoffman and John C Reilly before him, Lee is at the stage in his career where you just wish he could be a leading man. But after great work in the likes of 'Chasing Amy', 'Almost Famous' and 'Vanilla Sky', rolling around in this mess is not the way to go about it.
It tries to mix bawdy comedy with slapstick caper but is so painful to watch you'll just have your head in your hands wondering why Lee's character didn't just go to a bank and save everyone the misery. It's humiliating for him and a new low or Green who gets the odd decent line but is a chore to watch by the close.
Anyone who makes a film with a cast that includes people as cool and funny as Lee, Farina, McGinley and Penn and ends up with something that is so woefully wide of the mark on both counts really should consider a new career.