Poor Man’s Animal House

In the tradition of National Lampoon’s Animal House and other irreverent comedies satirizing the collegiate experience, Accepted is a politically incorrect but rambunctiously fun laugh riot. The underrated 2006 comedy stars a popular cast that would go on to bigger and better things.

Director Steve Pink’s (Hot Tub Time Machine) surprisingly well-made debut feature has a young Blake Lively and Jonah Hill mixing it up with main star Justin Long and comedian Lewis Black. Accepted has an energetic cast full of actors you’ll recognize in small roles, including Robin Lord Taylor (Gotham).

The contrived premise is completely implausible but somehow works. When every-man protagonist Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) keeps getting rejected by schools, he has his good buddy Schrader (Jonah Hill) set up the fake South Harmon Institute of Technology (S.H.I.T.). Bartleby and a few friends go so far as renovating an abandoned mental facility to serve as a “campus” when their parents start asking questions. Schrader’s wacky uncle played by Lewis Black pretends to be the dean.

Accepted is a politically incorrect but rambunctiously fun laugh riot

Bartleby gets in way over his head when other students start arriving at South Harmon – apparently the school’s fake website was designed to send acceptance letters to anyone that applied. The pretend campus is soon overrun by outcasts and weirdos rejected by all other schools.

There is also a brewing rivalry with the very real Harmon University down the street, the prestigious school attended by Schrader and Bartleby’s dream girl, Monica (Blake Lively). Accepted even has a classic fratboy villain who starts getting suspicious about South Harmon’s sudden appearance, Bartleby’s preppy romantic rival for Monica.

Accepted doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its crazy characters and acerbic comedic rants by Lewis Black. Many of the funnier beats have been seen before. It’s a funny, occasionally side-splitting satire of modern campus life with a few nods to early 2000s pop culture. While it’s not the inspired zaniness of Animal House, Accepted is light entertainment that pits pompous college types against a lovable bunch of outcasts. Justin Long was born to play roles like Bartleby; it’s a shame he had to grow out of college-age comedies.

The PG-13 rating is a little misleading. Accepted pushes the boundaries and could have easily been rated R with a little more juice. Despite the occasionally crude material, the movie has a decent message without being mean-spirited in its barbs.

Video

Mill Creek doesn’t have a sterling reputation with videophiles but Accepted is a definite step up. Licensed from Universal and presumably using the studio’s own HD transfer, the 2006 comedy looks fantastic at 1080P resolution. HD DVD owners will have to chime in if this is indeed the same transfer or a newer HD transfer struck by Universal.

The properly formatted 2.35:1 presentation exudes fantastic clarity and capable depth in a technically strong film transfer derived from Accepted’s 2K digital intermediate. Accepted was one of the earliest movies to receive a digital intermediate and the studio’s attention to detail shows on this disc.

Nice, even flesh tones highlight the healthy contrast and color saturation. The brightly-lit aesthetic showcases Accepted’s pristine video and vivid definition. Black levels are inky without losing shadow delineation.

The main feature runs 92 minutes in its original PG-13 form. The AVC encode is adequate enough for the glossy video, given a BD-25 with serviceable parameters.

It’s no wonder why Universal picked Accepted for HD DVD back in the day. The movie looks great and while I wouldn’t classify the BD as pure eye candy, this is one of the best-looking catalog films from the early Hi-Def era. The detail holds up remarkably well with today’s digitally-graded wonders.

Audio

Accepted hits home video for the first time with fully lossless 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio, a clear upgrade over the original HD DVD edition. The HD DVD contained Dolby Digital Plus, which disappeared with the disc format’s demise. This is a raucous but front-oriented soundtrack.

There is little discrete activity in the mix. Almost the entire soundstage is located upfront, spread across the three front channels. The dynamics and bass are definitely there but the surround mix is clearly limited. Dialogue is nicely reproduced with excellent musical fidelity.

Optional English SDH subtitles play in a white font, residing almost entirely within the scope presentation.

Extras

Accepted’s fans have waited a long time for the college comedy to hit Blu-ray. Originally released back in 2006 when Universal was still exclusively supporting HD DVD, the studio never bothered reissuing the movie on BD. Budget label Mill Creek has come to the rescue, licensing Accepted from Universal and most of the special features found on the original HD DVD. Missing here are two inconsequential music videos and the HD DVD exclusive “U-Control” picture-in-picture video commentary. The commentary’s audio however is included.

Mill Creek lists the Blu-ray as Region A but that has not been tested.

Audio Commentary with Director Steve Pink and Actors Justin Long, Lewis Black, Jonah Hill and Adam Herschman – A wise-cracking group commentary featuring three actors and the director that delights in frivolous banter. Carried over from the original DVD. Comedian Lewis Black and Jonah Hill more or less carry this incredibly loose and informal discussion, pointing out a few things about the movie along the way. Recorded when DVD commentaries were heavily pushed by Hollywood, everyone is “on” and trying hard to have a good time.

Reject Rejection: The Making Of Accepted (10:10 in SD) – A fairly expansive featurette that interviews several cast members in a very creative and funny manner. One of the more original making-of featurettes I’ve ever come across, it’s clearly intended to be a funny spoof of the usual EPK-type stuff found on DVDs.

Adam’s Accepted Chronicles (11:02 in SD) – Actor Adam Herschman discusses his method approach to playing Glen and how he drove many of his cast mates crazy while filming. Clips play of Adam Herschman in character preparing for his scenes, including bizarre vocal exercises.

Campus Tour (5 in SD) – Originally intended as part of an interactive “guided tour” of South Harmon for the DVD, five different locations in the film have brief one-minute clips highlight behind-the-scenes footage.

Gag Reel (08:12 in SD)

Deleted Scenes (12:59 in SD) – Often extensions or alternates to scenes that made the movie, there are a couple of funny moments from Jonah Hill that hit the cutting room floor.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Accepted
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

Irreverent and funny satire about college life featuring future stars Blake Lively and Jonah Hill.

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User Review
3 (1 vote)

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