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Animal House, Film Review

Again like many other films I’ve seen I saw it on the basis that it is regarded as a classic. So much of a classic that in America in 2001 it was deemed ‘culturally significant’ and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. It was also voted first on Bravo’s ‘100 Funniest Movies’ and 36th on the American Film Institutes list of the 100 best American comedies (Some Like it Hot being the first).

Animal House

So I went into this with high expectations for it to be a comedy classic and of hilarity to ensue. Unfortunately though what I found was that it is an amusing but unfunny film with virtually no plot to speak of. Although being a fore-runner to modern day American comedies (Road Trip and American Pie are often mentioned), it can’t and doesn’t live up to today’s standard of comedy film that feature better writing and are just a whole lot funnier to watch.

The first in the series of National Lampoon films (that are well known for satirizing American politics and popular culture and which vary from funny to downright abysmal), Animal House centres on a frat house full of miss-fit lads that all just want to party. The by product of this is they’re all failing their grades and have made an enemy of the College Dean who wants to throw their Delta House off the Campus and who eventually manages in doing so.

John Belushi is the original Jim Carrey/Ben Stiller/Will Ferrell (the wacky guy) and this is largely recognised as his best role. He doesn’t disappoint and although not being in the majority of the film or being the lead actor, he plays his role of the oddball joker easily and well. There’s also plenty of other young soon-to-be-well-known actors in there (Kevin Bacon and Karen Allen among others).

It just feels so dated and the writing and plot runs out of steam half way through leaving you bored. Supposedly full of good one-liners and gags I failed to spot any really funny or classic ones. The chaotic end at the Homecoming Parade is the climax to the film after all the students of the house are expelled, but it just feels stupid. Perhaps that’s the point. A stupid end to a stupid film.

Although audiences at the time loved it and the film has turned out to be one of the most profitable movies of all time with an estimated return of more than $141 million, I still don’t hold it with much regard, or even a Classic.

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