Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
This film image released by Focus Features shows Tina Fey in a scene from "Admission." (AP Photo/Focus Features, David Lee)
Movie review: Tina Fey makes the grade in ‘Admission’
Review » Plenty of wit in collegiate comedy-drama.
First Published Mar 21 2013 02:43 pm • Last Updated Mar 21 2013 09:15 pm

Tina Fey didn’t write "Admission," but between her performance and Karen Croner’s script, this smart and sweet comedy-drama is brimming with her dry wit and complex characters.

Fey plays Portia Nathan, a detail-obsessed admissions officer at Princeton University, where only one applicant out of 20 is accepted. Portia is ruthless in cutting through padded applications and helicopter parents to find the best students. She is particularly intent on doing so this year, as her boss (Wallace Shawn) has announced his retirement, and she’s competing with office rival Corinne (Gloria Reuben) for his job.

At a glance



Tina Fey shines as a neurotic college-admissions officer in this sweet, smart comedy-drama.

Where » Theaters everywhere.

When » Opens Friday, March 22

Rating » PG-13 for language and some sexual material.

Running time » 117 minutes.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

While touring schools in the Northeast, Portia gets a call from John Pressman (Paul Rudd), who operates an alternative high school in New Hampshire. John tells Portia he’s got a great "diamond in the rough" student, Jeremiah Balakian (Nat Wolff). Then John drops the bombshell: He believes Jeremiah was the baby boy Portia gave up for adoption 16 years ago, when she attended Dartmouth.

When the news comes, Portia’s life is already in turmoil. Her staid English-professor boyfriend (Michael Sheen) suddenly dumps her for a sultry Virginia Woolf scholar (Sonya Walger). Further complicating things are Portia’s undeniable attraction to John and her issues with her feminist-scholar mom (Lily Tomlin).

Director Paul Weitz takes Croner’s intelligent script — adapted from Jean Hanff Korelitz’s novel — and wrings out solid humor from Portia’s comic struggles to balance her professionalism with her newly unearthed maternal instincts. Weitz also has fun depicting the cutthroat competition in academia, where transcripts and essays substitute for a genuine understanding of a student’s inner being. As for Weitz, his résumé is a roller coaster of varying quality, from the funny "American Pie" and the smart "In Good Company" to the detestable "Little Fockers" and last year’s overwrought "Being Flynn."

As Fey’s first true star vehicle, "Admission" is a perfect follow-up to her recently concluded run on "30 Rock." Here, she has a nice, easygoing chemistry with Rudd (hard to believe they’ve never done a movie together before) and trades barbs with Tomlin with an unforced agility. But Fey’s at her best riding solo, distilling Portia’s neurotic perfectionism just in the way she keeps her desk.


Twitter: @moviecricket


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.