Stealing Harvard

I like strawberries. I like strawberries a lot. I hate prunes. I mean, I really hate prunes. Now for the $64,000 question: Would I be willing to endure a prune in order to feast on some strawberries?

Being a film critic means taking the good with the bad, or more precisely, suffering through “Stealing Harvard,” a porta-potty of a comedy that overflows with crappy jokes and pee-brained performances. Jason Lee stars as an aspiring executive who has just saved up enough money to marry the boss’s daughter (a dowry of $30,000, just enough for a down payment on a house).

Unfortunately, John Plummer (Lee) has forgotten a long-ago promise to his trailer trash niece that if she were able to get into college, he would pay her tuition. When niece Noreen (Tammy Blanchard) gets admitted to Harvard, John must come up with another $29,000, and fast. Trapped (his sister whips out the filmed oath), John turns to old friend Walter “Duff” Duffy (Tom Green) to help him raise the cash.

Here’s the rub. I like Jason Lee. I really don’t like Tom Green. As someone who sat through “Freddy Got Fingered,” I speak from experience. He annoys me, and it’s not because I don’t “get” him. The problem is there is nothing to get. He’s a juvenile hiding out in an adult’s body, a brat who doesn’t understand the difference between what’s funny and what’s funny only to him.

At eighty minutes, “Stealing Harvard” feels long. Very long. The actors look confined by writer Peter Tolan’s flat screenplay, a bland mix of indistinguishable characters and sub-standard set-ups and payoffs. The get rich quick gags were funny the first time I saw them in “Fun with Dick and Jane.” Now they’re just sad, which pretty much sums up “Stealing Harvard.”

STEALING TIME This “Harvard” is definitely no lampoon


Jason Lee, Tom Green, Leslie Mann, Megan Mullally. Directed by Bruce McCulloch.


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