03/13/2013 03:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Popcorn Preview: Admission

Film: Admission (2013)
Cast includes: Paul Rudd (I Love You, Man), Michael Sheen (Frost/Nixon), Tina Fey (30 Rock), Lily Tomlin (Nine to Five), Nat Wolff (Peace, Love, & Misunderstanding), Travaris Spears
Director: Paul Weitz (About a Boy)
Genre: Comedy | Romance (100 minutes)

"What's the secret formula to getting into Princeton?" Gasp... Portia's not sure she can keep answering this question over and over again every single day. She's one of 2 superstar Princeton admissions officers... one of them is likely to get Clarence's job at the end of year. During Clarence's announcement about his retirement, Portia is struggling to end a phone call from John Pressman, the head of a new high school called "Quest." A school visit? Out of the question! Or is it? Clarence wants his final year to end on a high note... with Princeton regaining its #1 ranking for most applications. That means more high school visits... more sales pitches. Anyway, Quest is only 10 minutes from where Portia grew up. Other than these high school visits, Portia really loves her job... and her life, for that matter. She and her long-term boyfriend have everything they want... and that most certainly doesn't include kids. "Children are like pit bulls. They can smell fear." Maybe that's why Portia is so good at her job. She doesn't get emotional about the rejections.

When Portia gives her normal sales pitch to students at Quest, she gets none of the usual questions. In fact, the response is almost hostile. "They're learning to be citizens of the world," says John. There's only one kid who wants to apply, and he really, REALLY wants to go to Princeton. Jeremiah is definitely a one-of-a-kind. An autodidact... he's just weird! "Deny," thinks Portia. What an exhausting day... good thing Mom's house is so close. Mom, however, can be a real challenge... "Let's cut out the mother-daughter role-playing crap. Call me Susannah." It could be a long night... except that John calls to see if she wants to get a bite to eat. Yes! "Parents exist to drive their kids nuts," says Portia. Maybe she was "raised by wolves... wolf," she means. At dinner, Portia learns about John, his nomadic life, Nelson... the kid he adopted from Uganda and their plans to move to Ecuador next year. John is as erratic as Portia is dependable. But John didn't ask Portia to dinner to discuss him self. There's no easy to say it... "I think Jeremiah might be your son"... the child Portia gave up for adoption.

Portia can't get back to her happy life at Princeton fast enough. Jeremiah... her son? Ridiculous! As it turns out, the timing of all this couldn't be worse. Portia's happy life is about to implode on several levels, and the Jeremiah-John-Nelson disruption isn't going away. Portia is used to turning the page with a single word... "DENY." But John's someone who simply hasn't learned "how humans behave on planet earth." Chemistry is what makes Admission so charming... not only chemistry between Portia and John, but for the first time in her life, there are two amazing young people who actually like her! And another first... perhaps there's hope for a mother-daughter relationship. There are a lot of seemingly unrelated story lines that have to come together in this movie... a challenge more daunting than getting into Princeton. It's a fun ride, though... and we learn the real secret for getting into Princeton... "Be yourself, cuz that's who you're stuck with."

2 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
A superstar Princeton admissions officer is challenged to fight for the kid with the worst school records ever

Popcorn Profile
Rated: PG-13
Audience: Young adults
Distribution: Mainstream wide release
Mood: Upbeat
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Engaging
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment

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You may enjoy reading about other films with Paul Rudd:

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Chateau