to think that Mark Waters was a genius. He had back-to-back comedic hits
with Freaky Friday (2003) and Mean Girls (2004). But
excellence has disappeared from his work and now heís working on a TV
series called Witches of East End. I gave him genius category because comedy is,
frankly, difficult. In fact, I think that comedy is the most difficult
of all the performing arts.
Paul Weitz, who is responsible for the brilliant About a Boy in
2002. Like Waters, he has not exactly burned as a bright star since. But
now, a decade later, he directs this poignant comedy about an admissions
director, Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) at Princeton. He has taken a terrific
script by Karen Croner, assembled an equally terrific cast that includes
Paul Rudd, Michael Sheen and the always enjoyable Wallace Shawn,
resulting in a first rate comedy that comes close to equaling the
quality of About a Boy.
has been an exceptionally good writer. But when Iíve seen her in movies
she has appeared more like a writer who has the capability of acting
what she writes, but without shining as an actress. Here she shines, giving an
Oscarģ-quality performance. She is joined in this regard by Rudd as a
teacher who is encouraging her to admit Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), a high
school senior without any apparent accomplishments, to Princeton.
is a lot more to the film than that and it includes a scintillating
performance by a hard-to-recognize Lily Tomlin, as Susannah, Portiaís
an entertaining film with good pace and sparkling
performances, one of the best Iíve seen so far this year.