Urban Cinefile  
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Thursday June 20, 2019 


John Plummer (Jason Lee) seems to have everything right. He loves his fiancée Elaine (Leslie Mann) and together they’re saving for a deposit on a house. Just when they have enough money together, John’s niece Noreen (Tammy Blanchard) is accepted into Harvard. This is good news – until his trailer trash sister Patty (Megan Mullally) reminds him of a promise he made years ago to pay for Noreen’s education. Just so happens that she needs another $30,000; the same amount that he’s saved. Since all hope seems lost, he turns to his loyal but eccentric friend Duff (Tom Green) for help. But Duff’s ideas for getting the money are a little off-beat.

Review by David Edwards:
After experiencing (or perhaps “enduring” is a better word) Tom Green’s truly appalling Freddy Got Fingered, it was with great trepidation that I approached his latest big-screen effort, Stealing Harvard. Thankfully, this effort from director Bruce McCullough doesn’t plumb quite the same depths as that earlier film. 

Stealing Harvard still has elements of Green’s trademark humour, but they’re muted – at least to an extent. McCullough also shows considerable discretion in allowing the affable Jason Lee and Leslie Mann as much screen-time as Green, and keeps things light-hearted enough to make the film at least bearable. That’s not to say it’s a great film by any stretch of the imagination. 

The premise is a far-fetched, and the action becomes sillier the longer the film goes on; the script is basically a series of set-piece gags, some of which work but others fall flat. This gives the film a slapped-together feel, one that certainly isn’t helped by the mismatch of acting styles between Green and the remainder of the cast. Jason Lee is likeable as John, but he’s quickly overwhelmed by the disagreeable Green. Leslie Mann has a few nice scenes, but gets precious little opportunity, while Dennis Farina hams it up as Elaine’s father. As for Tom Green, well, he’s Tom Green. The lighter material here certainly makes him easier to take than Freddy Got Fingered, but unless you’re a hard-core fan, he still comes across as annoying at best and gross at worst. 

There’s just enough to Stealing Harvard to prevent it from being the worst movie of the year. But the few things that this movie has going for it have nothing to do with Tom Green.

Email this article

Favourable: 0
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0


CAST: Jason Lee, Tom Green, Leslie Mann, Megan Mullally, Dennis Farina

PRODUCER: Susan Cavan

DIRECTOR: Bruce McCulloch

SCRIPT: Peter Tolan (story by Peter Tolan, Martin Hynes)


EDITOR: Malcolm Campbell

MUSIC: Christophe Beck


RUNNING TIME: 82 minutes


AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 14, 2002

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2019