Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long – Jeepers Creepers, The Break-Up) is a high school senior who has been refused from every university that he has applied to. That is eight rejections in total. In order to get his mom (Ann Cusack – Grosse Pointe Blank, The Birdcage) and dad (Mark Derwin – appeared on episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Boston Legal) off his back he invents his own university. Some of his oddball friends are also in the same boat and they too start lying to their parents. He calls in some favours to gets his friend Glen (Adam Herschman – first film) to design a website for the university, cleans up and renovates an abandoned mental institution to pose as the university and gets another friend's odd uncle Ben (Lewis Black – Jacob's Ladder) to pretend to be the dean. Bartleby has created the South Harmon Institute of Technology. Soon his efforts to cover up his lie become so convincing that, much to Bartleby's shock, many other students start showing up at S.H.I.T. (yes, that's the acronym) to enroll with their $10,000 tuition checks. Despite the fact that it is not a real university Bartleby and his friends continue the charade much to the disgust of the neighbouring snooty Harmon College students and faculty. The ill feelings get out of control and it becomes all out war between the two schools.
The College campus has always been an area that is ripe with comedic movie possibilities and it has been mined successfully in the past. Accepted is a film that happens primarily on a pseudo university campus, but unlike films such as "Animal House" or "Old School" I give it a failing grade. There are some genuinely funny moments in the film but not enough to rescue it from its fate of being a film that people will only watch for free on satellite if nothing better is on. I know that we are supposed to suspend belief when we sit down to watch a film – not many would work otherwise – but sometimes the story is so ridiculous that it makes it impossible to believe. There has to some shred of plausibility in a film for me to grasp tenuously to for the film to work. I could not find one iota to hold on to in this film. There were too many times I found myself thinking 'that could never happen' or 'how did that happen?'. Coupled with its implausibility the film is also entirely predictable. Director Steve Pink (first film) has created a film where nothing will happen that you were not expecting. The cherry on top is the ending, which is an over-the-top courtroom like scene that includes a bunch of preaching about acceptance and tolerance. The film is somewhat rescued from the abyss by the performance of that lovable geek, Justin Long. He is perfect in his character and goes a ways towards rescuing the film. By the way did they not do a skit on Saturday Night Live a number of years ago with the very same premise?
-Rejecting the Rejected: The Making of Accepted