Directed By: Hart Bochner
Written By: Adam Leff, Zak Penn
Produced By: Paul Schiff, Barry Sabath
Cast: Jeremy Piven, Chris Young, Jon Favreau, David Spade, Alex Désert
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 80 minutes
Review Date: July 2, 2010
Maybe it is completely un-PC to sit here and tell the truth about PCU. For his directorial debut, Hart Bochner unleashed PCU, the annoying little brother of Animal House who grew up in the ’90s. It’s the typical frat boy movie: beer; getting kicked off campus/out of school; a president/dean serving as the watchdog over one group of students; a prep-tastic group trying to shut down the underdog, film-favorite misfits and hormones flying from every direction.
PCU does have one characteristic a few frat-boy films miss: the politically correct (PC) groups on campus. At Port Chester University (PCU), we go from the overachievers feverishly pounding out their theses, to the cause-heads (new cause each week), to the womynists (feminists who probably denounced the name of “feminists” since it contains “men”), to the Balls & Shaft (prep-tastic).
We see our protagonist Tom Lawrence (Chris Young), a pre-frosh, getting ready for this big weekend at PCU, to help him determine if this is the right fit for his higher education. Lawrence learns he has been paired to share the next 48 hours with James “Droz” Andrews (Jeremy Piven). Droz is the ringleader of the house group called “The Pit” (note: fraternities were banned at PCU after the ’60s, so students opted to hang in cliques and name themselves). Droz is none too happy about this sudden surprise visitor and attempts to pass Lawrence off to various other Pit members (Jon Favreau, Alex Désert).
The Pit causes all of the terror on campus, aside from the PC groups all staging their protests, and engages in quite the meat fight with the vegan Cause-Heads. The Pit loses track of Lawrence, who then stumbles through all of the other campus groups, upsetting each and every one of them. During this time, we learn The Pit owes PCU over $7,000 in damages and fines, and of course, they must pay up immediately or risk losing their house.
Since this is college, the only solution is to throw a party. It takes some time, but eventually everyone arrives at The Pit to enjoy some funk and kegs. True to form though, the party isn’t enough and the Balls & Shaft group, led by Rand McPherson (David Spade), receive their house once again. But as we’ve learned from past frat movies, the end is never truly the end. The Pit come up with one more ploy to win back their name and reputation while really sticking it to the Balls & Shaft in the, well, balls and shaft.
While the film has a lot of potential to deliver something extra (through the PC student groups), it merely briefly touches on these students without any further exploration. The film is so predictable, you could walk away and return without missing a beat. It’s the perfect film for the nights, when you don’t feel like thinking and crave the familiar.
Hanna Soltys is a green tea drinker and film critic living in Chicago.