It's a good thing I long ago stopped expecting that a Hollywood movie would tell a tale that I could believe. Or do anything that I could believe. Oh, except for the part where Paul Rudd is just waiting to sweep me into his arms because he can't live without me…that I believe. Oddly, I seem to believe the same thing about a number of other younger-than-I actors on the scene. Quelle coïncidence.
Back to the stuff we don't believe, like that a character who never really wanted children can be turned around in the space of a couple of days to become a doting mother wannabe. Or that a footloose do-gooder, yet nasty soccer coach, could be made to grow roots by his worst soccer player. Those things, not so believable and yet they are the premise of this movie.
There were definitely good things about it, so I ought to name some of them. There was that Paul Rudd presence part (see above and sigh). It is also a pleasure – albeit a different kind of pleasure – to see Tina Fey and Lily Tomlin. Might I just add that Lily Tomlin seems to just get better with time, and Tina Fey has such excellent timing that she made me believe her in her role, up to the faux doting mother wannabe part, at least.
I did enjoy the characters. Tina Fey's cold and by-the-book admissions officer, her relationship with a very unconventional mother (Tomlin), her reaction to being left by her wishy-washy unfaithful live-in boyfriend, in the middle of a house party for his faculty friends. All very amusing and entertaining. You don't want to be at the wrong end of her giant chicken-serving fork, let me tell you.
We meet Lily Tomlin's character while she is busy constructing a bicycle, and only later discover her colourful and interesting past as a feminist writer and commuter train tryster. I have always loved her voice and I also love that I can believe her in a role and not be left feeling that she always plays that role. That must be acting. There should be more of that in the movies.
I think I felt that about of a few of the characters, including Paul Rudd's and Tina Fey's (with the exceptions of those unbelievable aspects I mentioned at the outset), and I kind of liked the young characters, too, although it might be a little early for me to say whether they were playing roles or playing themselves. Nat Wolff plays the hopeful applicant to Princeton, a knowledge-focused dweeb you might want to avoid at a party, unless suffering from insomnia, and Travaris Spears, who doesn't make the first page of the cast on IMDB, play Paul Rudd's adopted child and eventual anchor.
Oh, did I mention Paul Rudd again?
After all, for all the Hollywood happy ending qualities, I did kind of enjoy it. Maybe that's the admission part.