User ReviewsReview this title
It was smart, clever, and told a good tale, there was only a small amount of unanswered questions I had in my mind when it ended... I stared at the screen and said... "OK...it wasn't awful, it was .... well OK"
The bottom line is, I am not going to say it was a horrible movie, because it was not... I found that I was entertained by the movie, and they did not try to market it as a blockbuster.. A decent film, and not too far removed from what it was about.. trying to get tenure at a College.
The jokes are very sophomoric, you may laugh a little bit, but these jokes are for the lowest common denominator. I found it a very odd mix, since generally movies about academic professors are supposed to be more intelligent. Do not mistake this movie as intelligent. David Koechner (who I am generally not a big fan of) is in the main comedic role, he crosses the line from professor to student, and his jokes cross the line from decent to unacceptable.
That aside, the rest of the movie is a pretty good exploration of a smart, but insecure, 30-something guy. Luke Wilson is his usual, likable self, and I looked forward to the resolution for his character.
"Tenture" is not the smart, funny academic film that I was expecting (and that I think it was supposed to be), but I found a bit of myself in Luke Wilson's character and I was smiling at the end. If you ignore the promise of high comedy, this film can be enjoyed.
I felt the movie overall, was very well done in many aspects of film making. In all, a joy for me. I'd say anyone remotely affiliated with University life, and an open mind, will have a lot of fun watching this movie, and an enjoyable experience.
I'm sorry I'm not as erudite describing the movie from a technical perspective, as some of the other reviewers, but I just had to write out my feelings about this Gem of a movie.
Thanks to the producers, to MIke Million, and the well cast actors for making this movie! Thanks to ALL who were involved in making it!! Thank You!
Although Million is obviously a fan of Wes Anderson - from the music to a for-the-initiated "cacaw" - and though the Wilson-and-Koechner combo (and the college setting) may have renters hoping for something familiarly debauched and "zany", he resists visiting those well-traveled extremes, as well as the dead spots and emotional browbeating of the small-and-heartfelt-indie-comedy genre.
"Tenure" is funny without relying on, say, Will Ferrell running around naked. It is heartfelt without a drop of treacle, and a "loser-finds-his-bliss" comedy whose hero (and even his 'wacky friend') have a quiet self-respect which suffuses the entire film.
No one will be surprised at this point in Hollywood history to see a Bigfoot obsession mined for laughs, or for an adult son to drop in on his father's nursing home and catch some old-people sex. But leave it, apparently, to Mike Million to deliver these goods in ways that we haven't quite seen before (and deliver the news that David Koechner can really act. Bob Gunton, aka the warden from Shawshank Redemption, also displays layers I do not personally remember seeing before. I will now await him as I do the Philip Baker Halls...) There are undoubtedly those who will accuse Tenure of not quite knowing what it wanted to be. But for anyone starting to see in every new movie merely echoes of its ancestors (am I the only person in the world who found "Avatar" long, tedious and way too predictable?) it was nice to see that Mike Million knew well the various territories on which he was in danger of encroaching, and deftly walked a difficult path between them. If everything in Tenure was familiar, nothing in it was tiresome or clichéd. Which takes real courage to attempt, and a real, veteran-like talent to pull off.
If you watch this movie and feel that it did not quite deliver enough "Old School," or on the other hand enough "Rushmore," blame your conditioned expectations and watch it again. You'll realize you didn't want it to - and that it delivered something else. Real restraint. Real characters. Real dignity - even Bigfoot gets respect in this movie. And some real one-upping of the kind of punchline (Gunton's "plastic knife" line comes to mind) that you could have sworn could no longer be memorably/freshly conceived or delivered on screen.
Then - since it's too late for him to punch up Avatar - you'll start wondering what familiarities Million is going to make unfamiliar next.
I should admit I am a college professor and thought I would enjoy a film which was supposed to be a comedy about college professors. This was no _Groves of Academe_ or anything close. In the film, the writing professor urges his students to "write about what you know" (and old and tired chestnut, to be sure, but not bad advice) and yet Mike Million seems to know nothing about the academic life, tenure, publications, etc., and in fact, seems to have learned about academic life from watching television shows about high school teachers (including the faculty lounge, old deans with bow ties, etc.) Then again, I've never taught at Bowdoin or Bryn Mawr, so maybe it's really like that there... but I doubt it.
Not to say there aren't internecine battles and personal squabbles among faculty, there certainly are, but they don't look like this. Admittedly, there are a few chuckles here and there (much of it from an extended gag about Bigfoot) but when the film deliberately tries to be funny (e.g., erotic poetry club) it falls flat. Overall, it has a quiet, dignified tone to it, which may help it appear to be artsy, and the use of beautiful, Hollywood versions of college (all stone buildings and oak paneled interiors) give it a sense of class, I would give it a miss.
Unless herbal erectile pills strike you as absolutely hilarious.
"Tenure" is an unfunny comedy with pathetic lead characters: Charlie is a complete imbecile, but a good teacher and Jay is an unscrupulous crackers. Their attitudes against the lovely Elaine are stupid, unethical and absolutely inadequate for college professors and after 89 minutes running time, I have not laughed any time. I found stranger how a viewer could "love" this flick and I discover that there are many fake reviews in IMDb of people with only one review promoting this flick to lure the readers. My vote is three.
Title (Brazil): "Um Professor em Apuros" ("A Teacher in Trouble")
If Charlie, the main character, with everything going on in his life, had eventually given into Robins desire for him it would have made his character seem more realistic. Personally I think that I would have. It also would have added a bit of sex that I think the movie would have benefited from. I felt a lot of sexual tension in the movie, probably to much. I think they could have used her character to expand on the teacher characters. She could have given her view of some of the various faculty from a students point of view, showing some of the flaws and short comings of the other professors. Like one being a bit perverted, and another drinking during work hours. He could have then taken her to dinner instead of the PBS lady, and Elaine Grasso (played by Gretchen Mol) could have showed some jealousy for the young attractive student, which I think would make her character seem more real and human as well. I just think this would have added some much needed depth to the movie
It deals with the tenure problems of an untenured assistant professor in some New England private college. The other professors are all portrayed as idiots, of course, but then the protagonist isn't presented as a bright light either. We are led to believe that his students think he is a great teacher, but that is just stated; we never see any good teaching on his part. In fact, what little we do see of him in the classroom looks pretty lame.
Tenure hinges on publication here. The protagonist needs a few articles. So he keeps sending one off, and it keeps getting rejected - in a matter of a few days every time. Where, I would love to know, is an academic journal with turn-around time like that?
I could go on about the other aspects of the movie, but it's really not worth it, nor is it worth renting. This movie demonstrates no knowledge of what a college professor's academic and professional life is like. I will let others speak to its qualities as entertainment.
Romantic comedies are aimed at women, naturally, hence the kind of effort that is put into such scripts is, well... practically non-existent. "Tenure" contains Hollywood's almost century-old "safe comedy", also known as "cute comedy" aka "tee-hee-hee comedy" aka "makes-male-viewers-vomit comedy"; the kind of humour that is only one step above the kind of crap that poor, defenseless babies get when their sadistic parents switch on the "Teletubbies", gearing up their kids from an early age towards reaching the kind of low expectations and non-critical attitudes that will one day help them to appreciate bottom-of-the-barrel material such as "Friends". ("Friends": Teletubbies for adults.)
The gags are truly pathetic, and the characters who stumble over these hilarious jokes are painfully goofy, unrealistic people who clown around in all the wrong ways. For example, Wilson's terminally unfunny sidekick is a Sasqwatch-obsessed anthropology professor; he spends his time looking for Bigfoot in the woods, and takes fake acid pills now and again. Yes, that's the kind of embarrassing-to-watch trash we've got here. On the upside, there is no laugh-track; this is the one great thing about bad big-screen comedies.
But just because the humour is "safe" doesn't mean it doesn't get raunchy, or at least desperately tries to be, and this is where "Tenure" gets abysmal. A sub-plot revolves around a retirement home in which Luke's father has sex with very old women. In the final scene, Luke distributes free erection aids to the occupants of the nursing home. Painfully, painfully unfunny. Similarly shame-happy were the scenes with his students' "sex poetry". Even Wes Anderson wouldn't pull something this bad out of his talentless ass.
Luke lies about having a girlfriend, then predictably gets a paid stand-in to join him in the kind of scene we've seen in at least 5,000 sitcoms.
The only ace the movie ever had up its sleeve was Gretchen Mol. Yet(i), she makes her first appearance after about 25 minutes or so. After that, she is featured in about a handful of scenes. I don't think she has more than 20 lines in the whole movie. And she is Luke's romantic interest. You figure it out...
Its rare for me to rate a movie this highly but this movie isn't one of those movies with funny moments and boring lulls, its one of those movies that just keeps you smiling and giggling the whole time and its the best of its kind that i have seen.
Its been a long time since i have been so pleasantly surprised by a movie like i was this one, I definitely recommend this movie to any and all people who like to laugh and smile, Which I'm pretty sure are most people ;-).
Jay is an expert on Bigfoot. Or thinks he is. He has evidence of the creature. Or thinks he does. The anthrolopology professor is rejected for tenure, minutes after Steve Kim was approved. His response is to toilet paper someone's house. I won't say who, but it's funny.
Charlie is reasonably happy with his life, wishing he could do better; Grey is apparently not a prestigious school despite its gorgeous architecture. His sister Margaret, however, is always harassing him about his lack of concern for their father William, a retired Princeton professor in assisted living. There is nothing obviously wrong with William and he hates where he is. He is still intelligent and demanding, and apparently not happy with his son's lack of career success. Charlie neither visits enough nor helps with the cost, though you have to believe with his current career Margaret is expecting too much of him. William does enjoy calling in to fund-raisers for PBS stations, not intending to contribute but just wanting someone to talk to. Charlie tries doing the same thing and meets Beth, who is likable and cute. Yes, something similar to a romance does develop between them. I'll let you find out just what. It's both weird and funny.
Charlie finds his efforts to get approved for tenure will be more difficult than he thought. His female department head (not attractive) dislikes him for reasons that aren't quite clear. Elaine is a cute new professor hired from Yale. She is likable and gets published in prestigious journals. She's not great in the classroom, which is encouraging for Charlie. However, Charlie does want to help her and in the process we see potential for a romance to develop. Meanwhile, since Elaine volunteered to be faculty advisor to the poetry club after Charlie turned down Stan's request to do so, Charlie and Stan start a second poetry club, allowing more "adult" material. Jay, not one to follow rules, tries to sabotage Elaine's efforts to succeed.
Jay gets Charlie to come along to a presentation where the enthusiastic Dave wants them to sell a product which cannot be named on broadcast TV. This looks like a pyramid scheme. When I saw the movie, part of the sign for the presentation was blurry, and every time the product name was mentioned it was bleeped. Let's just say it helps men who are having trouble with women. Later, this product is the subject of a hilarious scene in ... I'd better let you find out.
One more problem for Charlie: Robin likes him--I mean, really likes him--and wants a relationship which would clearly be inappropriate.
So, will Charlie get tenure? Will he find romance with one of the women? Will William ever be happy? Will Jay find Bigfoot?
Luke Wilson does a very good job here. He makes us like him and we want him to succeed in all areas of his life. That seems to be the main point of the movie and the main reason to enjoy it.
I know David Koechner from several roles, but mainly as the likable loser on "Superior Donuts". Here, he is a loser, but I wouldn't say likable. I suppose we want him to succeed but almost know for certain he never will.
Gretchen Mol is adorable and intelligent, and while her character's failure would be good for Charlie, she just makes Elaine too nice and pleasant for us to really want that. Seeing her and Wilson together is one of the best things about the movie.
Sasha Alexander is nothing but unpleasant. That's it. Margaret has no redeeming qualities except she's a looker. That's how Jay described Elaine, but I didn't see it myself.
Bob Gunton does a good job (though there are no challenges connected with his character's apparent problems) and I found myself wanting the film to focus more on him and the relationship between William and Charlie. I didn't care if the movie wasn't always funny.
William Bogert as the dean is sort of the absent-minded professor and makes us sort of like him, though not always.
The actors playing three of the students also made us like them. Even Ben, sort of the class clown, who doesn't have nearly enough lines.
Some of the music is classical and nice to listen to. But I particularly liked the "a capella" sound that was so much a part of the background music of the TV series "Glee" and a big part of the "Pitch Perfect" movies. This style was played at the movie's start.
Is this family friendly? I think that has already been established. Also, I have reason to suspect the F-word was used a lot. Cleaned up for TV, it's not really too bad.
I enjoyed this, though I have seen better.
Charlie is a bit too pathetic which gets a little tiresome. He would be funnier if he's darker. Luke Wilson needs to get some edge. Koechner is trying to be funny. The students don't have any big standout. This comedy feels a little incomplete. It's not dark enough to be a black comedy. It's not odd enough to be quirky. It's just not quite funny enough.
It was very amusing to see that the movie's description of academic life was so wrong that not even the opposite would have been anywhere nearby the truth. It was so wrong that I am sure it was deliberate.
Nevertheless, this was a very entertaining movie. I had a good time watching it.
I strongly recommend it to my academic colleagues because it is fun to see how others imagine academic life.
BTW, e.g., "The Big Bang Theory" is not better either in showing academic life; still it is a fabulously superb sitcom.
P.S. I wonder if the reason that movies pretending to show the intricacies of academic life end up painting a false picture only because showing the actual reality would be simply too boring and disappointing for the "people on the street".
I found the Jay Hadley character very annoying and not to be a very believable professor. The Rosemarie DeWitt track also felt out-of-place. The movie should have just stayed focused on the key character Charlie Thurber. Many people of his age would be able to relate to what he's going through. I liked the Million avoids clichés in places. For example, the Teacher's pet sequence was well done.
On the technical side, the score is pretty good and the camera captures the simplicity and beauty of the location. The woods and countryside are nice to look at. The pacing is very slow, especially at the beginning. Luke Wilson is terrific. His restrained performance as Charlie makes the character all the more real. And if this film is worth watching then it's mostly because of him. David Koechner does his best with an ill-written character. Gretchen Mol is cute and likable. Sasha Alexander is wasted.
Overall, it's not as bad as many reviewers have made it out to be but it could have easily been a lot better.
It's more like a tragedy. Jokes are, without exception, awful. Whoever wrote this dross is a hopeless case.
Nothing makes any sense, characters go squarely against their own stated interests for absolutely no reason - all the time. Characters do completely unreasonable things for no reason other to make the storyline amusing, but it backfires every single time.
It's really a mystery how a movie written so badly can be made. I mean, have these actors and producers even read the script before making the decision to participate in it? I find it hard to believe that an educated, intelligent person could find this script good enough.
Once you see the movie, it will be VERY obvious that the positive reviews on IMDb were written exclusively by people associated with this hopeless movie. "Fantastic!!!", says one of them. Yeah, right. Fantastically awful.