"The Admission" Fails to Pass the Test
Witty yet undeveloped, "The Admission" has a great plot line but lacks character depth and doesn't quite piece together with a main objective. A sort of comedy-romance-drama, this film gives us glimpses of humor, touches of romance, and weaves in some excitement as well. However, it leaves the viewers feeling in the middle of a game of tug of war- pulled to a humorous part, then yanked back to were it gets dramatic, and so on. Although there are some amusing, clever scenes that kept me captivated, I was left feeling as if this movie was hard to focus on.
Portia Nathan thought she had the perfect life. Perfect long-time boyfriend, Mark, (Michael Sheen) perfect job at Princeton as an admissions officer, no children, and a stable life overall. But this all changes one day as her life seemingly comes crashing down. First, her boyfriend of almost ten years leaves her unexpectedly. Next, her and co-worker, Corinne, are called to her boss' desk as he delivers the news of his upcoming retirement, leaving an opening position as boss that both ladies will have to fight for. In an effort to catch her boss' eye, Portia travels to an alternative high school for gifted children. Here, she meets former high school classmate John Pressman who introduces her to one of his most talented students, Jeremiah. John describes Jeremiah, put up for adoption as a young child, as "special". He has horrible grades just barely above passing, yet aced the SAT's and is truly remarkable. Portia is extremely skeptical of him getting in, but when John suddenly throws a curveball, it all changes. He thinks Jeremiah might be Portia's long lost son she secretly put up for adoption. The birth certificate is even there to prove it. Suddenly Portia is willing to do anything for her "son", even if it means tearing apart the delicate life she worked so hard to get.
Something every decent movie needs is chemistry amidst the characters - usually between the two main roles. Unfortunately, "The Admission" just didn't have it. Tina Fey, starring as Portia Nathan, just didn't connect with John Pressman, played by Paul Rudd. Most of the actors in this show did play their roles pretty well, but there was no one over the top that really stood out other than Lily Tomlin, who plays Portia's tough, harshly feminist mother. She was clever and interesting, and the perfect person for this particular role.
"The Admission" had its highs as well as lows. I did not enjoy how unexplored the characters were. They gave no background on John, apart from him adopting a young boy named Nelson from Uganda after his parents died and traveling the world helping others for his job (which seemed a little too cliché). And for Portia, we know that she secretly gave up a son for adoption years ago, and…that's all. Why become an admissions officer? Was it hard living with her mother when she grew up? I'd find this film much more realistic if some of the backgrounds had been filled in. Also, I disliked the films ending. I can't give away much, but let's just say that it was surprising with a twist, yet still disappointing. Not all aspects were bad, though. I liked how Portia's mother portrayed herself, and you could really get a sense of her strong personality and fierce attitude toward life. Portia own her own was incredibly funny, as you'd expect from actor Tina Fey.
The theme of "The Admission" is that change can be scary, but it often results in positive outcomes. Portia's whole life she felt she had to be in control and she was scared of change. Scared of finding her son, scared of believing that being perfect doesn't always make you happy. But when she met her supposed son, she realized she'd go above and beyond for him. She did some pretty extreme things for Jeremiah, and these events brought out the true person Portia was all along. Others will hopefully learn to embrace change although the moral was a little hidden in the story.
Rated PG-13, this multiple genre film would be a fun movie for a family night out and for people who enjoy a little bit of everything. Little kids, or people looking for a set category movie with loads of action probably would be better off watching something like "The Croods". While "The Admission" is not a gut-busting, edge of your seat, or I'm-crying-my-eyes-out kind of movie, it satisfies and is an overall good film.