Stealing Harvard

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Jason Lee, Tom Green, Leslie Mann, Dennis Farina, Megan Mullally

Director: Bruce McCulloch

John Plummer (Jason Lee) is a basic guy with simple plans for his future. He works in a medical supplies store owned by his fiance’s father (Dennis Farina) and is intent on saving up $30 000 for a down payment on a house so that he can marry Elaine (Leslie Mann).

However just as John and Elaine realise that they have saved up enough to enable them to get on with their lives, John’s past catches up with him. A long time ago John made a promise to his one and only loving niece (Tammy Blanchard), stating that he would pay for her university fees if she got into a good college. Lo and behold Tammy is accepted by Harvard and the bill is $29 879!

In a desperate bid not to disappoint either his fiance or niece John seeks the help of his friend Duff (Tom Green) for a solution to the predicament he finds himself in. Duff comes up with the ‘bright’ suggestion that they commit a robbery to acquire the funds. Several unsuccessful robberies later, with Leslie’s father getting very suspicious and a relentless detective (John C McGinley) watching them closely, they still don’t have the money! John finally tells Elaine what he has been going through, which leads to an interesting grand finale.

In spite of Jason Lee’s good portrayal of his character Tom Green, unfortunately, either tries too hard to be funny or is just simply weird and this has an adverse effect on the chemistry between the leads, which is never fully realised. There’s a good supporting cast however with excellent performances from John C McGinley who is perfect as the relentless cop and Dennis Farina as the over protective father.

The direction from Bruce McCulloch is not specific enough as the film is supposed to be a comedy but is only funny in parts, not romantic enough to be a romantic comedy and is definitely not a drama – so is best described as a weak romantic comedy! Though a good idea it is poorly executed and best viewed from the comfort of your living rooms.

3 out of 6 stars