Freshman Orientation

"Grim"

Freshman Orientation Review


OK, it's official: I no longer care about 18 year olds. Freshman Orientation is the last hyperkenetic, oversexed, foul-mouthed, gender-bending, college frolic I'll watch. At this point I've simply eaten too much American Pie.

When Clay (Sam Huntington) arrives at a large state university, his only goal is to score a dumb blonde. At the same time, Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday), the sorority girl of his dreams, is challenged by her sorority sisters to date a gay man and then dump him (to get revenge on the evil male of the species). Clay gladly pretends to be gay just so he can spend more time with her, but now he has to figure out "how to be gay." Amanda's Jewish friend Jessica (an especially foul-mouthed Heather Matarazzo) is similarly challenged to date and dump a Muslim. Off to the side, Clay's sensitive roommate Matt (Mike Erwin), a closeted gay teen, is slowly coming to terms with himself while simultaneously falling in love with Matt. And Matt's high-school girlfriend Majorie (Marla Sokoloff) also shows up as a newly self-identified lesbian.

Writer-director Ryan Shiraki, who also crafted the gay campus movie Poster Boy, tries to have it both ways, debunking every gay stereotype around while simultaneous asking the audience to laugh at all the stereotypes he presents. A gay and lesbian poetry slam is just one venue where we get to laugh at the angry dykes who keep crossing the screen. Mix-ups, screw-ups, and gross-outs abound. I can't remember another film that features not one but two vomit scenes within the first 10 minutes.

And speaking of vomit, an adult permanent student known around campus as the "Very Drunk Chick" (Rachel Dratch) steps in and out, bringing a few chuckles but not much else. More effective in a cameo is John Goodman as the local gay bar owner. He's older and wiser and tries to give Clay good advice, but not until after he takes him on a clich├ęd gay shopping spree.

The movie's only real moments come when Clay smokes a bowl in the library with his history professor (Sherrie Marina), a woman who has seen plenty of teenagers come and go and who understands that college is the place where everyone experiments with new identities in order to be anything other than what they fear they're destined to become.

Cut from that moment to an on-campus rumble between disenfranchised lesbians wearing "Pussy Power" T-shirts storming the fraternity formal in search of social justice. As Clay's roommate Matt puts it succinctly, "Even Felicity didn't have it this bad." Indeed.

Freshman Orientation sat on the shelf for a few years under the even worse title of Home of Phobia. No matter what you call it, it's still a minor effort, more notable for the cameo performances than for the main story.

Aka Home of Phobia.

Never mind the futon, here's the comedy!



Facts and Figures

Production compaines: Persistent Entertainment, Element Films, L.I.F.T. Production

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Ryan Shiraki

Starring: as Clay Adams, as Marjorie, as Jessica, Kaitlin Doubleday as Amanda, as Tazwell, as Rodney, as Very Drunk Chick, Meagen Fay as Mrs. Paul, Mark McLachlan as Cullen, Mike Erwin as Matt


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