Collegiate legend Dean Slater (Mitchell Jarvis) returns to the university that banned him for eternity to secretly fill in for his brother as a resident advisor. Haven’t unplugged from the world of technology while living in Germany, Dean encounters a different crop of college student than what he left, as everyone is a slave to their phone, computer and the internet. Starting with a trio of clueless Freshmen (Jimmy Wong, Nick Renaud and Glenn McCuen), Dean will remind the students that they should be cultivating a life full of experiences, not full of devices. He’ll also, hopefully, reconnect with a former flame (Italia Ricci).
At least, that’s part of the underlying plot that gives Dean Slater: Resident Advisor a little more heft than just another dick-and-fart joke-infused college comedy peopled by characters looking to get laid. Because it is also the latter, working in a good fart joke when it can, layering in some puke and piss humor too for good measure. There’s also a pretty consistent level of absurdity all around, as Dean Slater is a college guru cut from a similar cloth as Van Wilder, though one could argue even more philosophical and wise for his experience.
While the balance between technology and other intoxicants in moderation message and low brow humor doesn’t always work out, Dean Slater: Resident Advisor is still a pretty funny film. I liked that it tried to work some sort of element of deeper meaning in there, even if it was often utilized to loosely set up another joke, because it’s a good point. How can students today really get that “college experience” when they’re staring at their smartphones all the time? Or worse, documenting every aspect of their time there for the internet to consume, when, you know, somethings are better left as a memory and not a public archive.
But, again, for as much as that is a part of the movie, there’s still the more common collegiate film humor involving alcohol, gross-out repercussions of too much alcohol, coed misadventures and more. Hell, there’s even a musical number in here (which is actually pretty spectacular). The subplot with Tyler (Nick Renaud) as an unintentional (and embarrassing) internet celebrity didn’t do much for me, however, even if it fit in with the technology message going on.
While I don’t think Animal House has anything to worry about being knocked from the college comedy top slot, that doesn’t mean Dean Slater: Resident Advisor isn’t an enjoyable tale. I’d put it up there in the same realm as the first Van Wilder or Accepted. All films that deliver different takes on similar themes and tropes, all maintaining a high level of comedy and entertainment.
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