Fey’s Way

Admission

Opening

2/5

Multiple Emmy winner Tina Fey faces a major quandary: keep doing the same thing, explore new roads or return to her original path and just write?

Well, one thing’s clear: Admission is most definitely not the way to go.

Admission could be considered a drama with funny bits or a romantic comedy with a serious side (the trailer plays like a bad Cameron Crowe movie, minus the mandatory Peter Gabriel song). Alas, this personality disorder makes the whole experience frustrating: the gags are shoehorned in and undercut the parenthood issues the film tackles oh-so-lightly.

Tina Fey is Portia, a Princeton admissions officer blissfully unaware of the rut she’s in, stuck in a loveless relationship and a job that’s all about shattering people’s dreams. Sure enough, the bookish Portia is successively dumped by her live-in boyfriend (for a Virginia Woolf scholar, the poor sap), meets a free-wheeling suitor (Paul Rudd) and is informed by him the kid she gave up for adoption 17 years ago is a prodigy and wants to attend Princeton. Her maternal instincts flare up, but there are so many conflicts of interests she must tread very lightly.

Director Chris Weitz tries to recreate the tone he achieved in About a Boy. One critical difference: Nick Hornby’s novel is a modern classic while Jean Wanff Korelitz’s book (who?) gathers dust at libraries. The one funny bit — the contrast between elitist academic institutions and the ultra-liberal school Paul Rudd runs — is seldom revisited and barely qualifies as a plot point. The silver lining Lily Tomlin gets to do more than play some starlet’s wacky grandmother. /Jorge Ignacio Castillo