Stealing Harvard Movie Review
Stealing Harvard centers on the sensible, hardworking John (Jason Lee) who made a promise long ago that he would pay for his niece Noreen's (Tammy Blanchard) college education. At the time, John thought Noreen would never amount to much, considering she is the daughter of his trailer trash sister Patty (Megan Mullally, in the film's best, but neglected, role). Much to John's chagrin, Noreen gets accepted to Harvard and now he must make good on his word to pay for her first year of schooling. John already has the cash he needs, but he has promised this money to his fiancée Elaine (Leslie Mann) for use as a down payment on their dream home. Sounds like John is making too many promises.
John is too nice to back out of either pledge, so he enlists the help of his brainless (and I guess only) friend Duff (Green) to find a way to come up with another $30,000. Together, they concoct numerous illogical and irrational schemes to obtain the money. First, they try to steal money from an unlocked safe inside the house of one of Duff's landscaping clients. Instead of getting the cash, John gets forced into a kinky transvestite sex fantasy with the client. Next, they try unsuccessfully to rob Duff's uncle's convenience store with toy guns spray painted black to look real. With each failed effort, their plans get more outlandish and they soon find themselves seeking money from a local gangster and John's employer - his future father-in-law (Dennis Farina). I guess there are no legal sources of money available in their town.
If you find Tom Green's brand of humor to be amusing or better yet, can even relate it, you might enjoy this movie. If you've seen him in Freddy Got Fingered or Road Trip, you can know what to expect. Green's anecdotal remarks are more annoying than they are funny. While sitting in a police station, Duff finds a toothbrush that he first sniffs, then tastes, and finally uses to brush out his goatee. Are we supposed to laugh at this?
Stealing Harvard is rarely engaging and the childish humor entertains for just a few sporadic scenes. Some of the best laughs come from the minor characters like Mullally's Patty or the police detective played by John C. McGinley. Unfortunately, the movie gets too bogged down in the unraveling of John and Duff's ridiculous adventures that Mullally and McGinley's characters are afforded too few scenes, and many chances for greater laughs at their expense are overlooked.
Stealing Harvard fails to make the grade. In fact, it flunks out on its first day. A school of such dignity should be insulted to be associated with this rubbish. Come to think of it, it probably is.
Tastes like chicken.