Accepted (2006)

Published on October 19th, 2011

Alex recommends a good teen movie performance by Justin Long in Accepted.

There are a couple of teen movies I don’t think ever got a fair shot; they might still be mediocre, but they’re better than I Love You, Beth Cooper. I’m fine with mediocre teen movies being seen by (seemingly) only me and the friends I make watch them with me, but it bothers me a lot more when a good lead performance in a teen movie is wasted.

Justin Long seems to divide people pretty easily; the fallout of the Mac vs. PC war has had more of an impact on his perception than most people think. As far as a dramatic actor, he’s nothing special (and his performance in Dreamland is truly abysmal), but the guy is a generally funny and naturally charismatic guy. Basically, he’s the perfect lead for a teen movie.

Accepted is about a group of people who aren’t good enough to get into the colleges they want, so they make one up where everybody is accepted, and blah blah blah hopelessly optimistic bullshit. It’s basically a low-grade version of what Ferris Bueller Goes to College probably would have looked like; I would imagine that it was pitched to the studio as that as well. But Long makes for a pretty charming and funny faux Ferris, and he also gets to continue to use a bit of the physical comedy skills that he was so effective with in Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.

I’m not going to pretend that Acceptable is a great movie; it’s not. It’s just a funny teen movie, one that features talented people like Long, Jonah Hill, Maria Thayer, and Columbus Short. Also, Lewis Black plays the dean of the fake college Long creates, and Black demolishes every line he has (his discussion with Long’s parents is particularly hilarious). Every time the movie does something overly corny, like proclaiming that we all need to be accepted in our own special way, there’s a funny enough joke shortly after that you never get too bothered by it. And Long is charming enough that his speeches aren’t painful to sit through.

If you’re reading this on a PC, you might hate Justin Long and have no desire to see the movie. Or you’re a person who isn’t absurd, and you recognize that Long is pretty talented. Accepted is probably his best role (that I’ve seen), and even though he’s doing it within a teen movie that is occasionally a little too saccharine for my liking, it’s worth seeing.

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