I think Justin Long could have a long career ahead of him if he learns how to branch out. He’s deliriously funny as a put upon teenager but eventually he’s going to grow past that and right now I’m not sure he has the amount of talent, say, Michael J. Fox demonstrated over his career. Long’s comic timing is spot-on though and even in a simple flick like Accepted it shines through.
He plays a kid who isn’t accepted by any college in the country and is understandably frustrated. Since he’s also an enterprising youth, he brings some friends into a plan to create a fictional university for the sake of getting his parents off his back. As expected, the plan goes awry when the faux university accepts anyone who applies which leads to a wacky supporting cast showing up. Hijinks, naturally, ensue.
It is a good thing Long is as charming as he is because every one else around him is either flat or annoying. Much has been made of the improv nature of Jonah (name) since every time he opens his mouth out spews a diatribe about how much life sucks for him. It’d be ten times funnier if he didn’t keep hitting that one note in the last several films he’s been in. Knocked Up was hilarious in spite of him, not because of, and he’s doing the same schtick here.
But there is one more shining light in this film and that is Lewis Black. Long time fans of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” are plenty familiar with Black’s recurring segments and he always seems like he’s one tick away from gunning down everyone in the building. His fury and insanity routine is, to me anyway, absolutely hilarious and he fires off one gem after another in Accepted. The best ones though are kept in the outtakes section which is absolutely recommended viewing for anyone who rents this.
Keep it as a rental, and it’s not a wasted hour and a half. There are plenty of laughs, but it’s cotton candy in the sense that it won’t stay with you the second you’re finished with it.