cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

Harvard Man

Starring Adrian Grenier, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, Rebecca Gayheart and Eric Stoltz
Written and Directed by James Toback
no website

IN SHORT: Pretentious editing ruins a potentially terrific flick. [Rated R for drug use, language and some strong sexuality. 100 minutes]

The opening minutes of writer/director James Toback's Harvard Man slams you with such an overkill of sound and vision that it is almost impossible to get a fix on which of the four panels of action on screen -- basically two each of a basketball game and of stars Adrian Grenier and Sarah Michelle Gellar having sex -- should be the centerpiece. It is a trying and exhausting start which, if you figure it out, indicates that Toback has got a hell of a lot more going for work that, at first view, doesn't look like more than some experimental crap dished out by a just out of grad school film student. What follows those exasperating opening credits is a twisting, turning story that is fairly brilliant in its mix of corruption, sex and manipulation. The basics:

Alan Jensen (Adrian Grenier) is point guard on the admittedly lousy Harvard b-ball team. While his teammates prepare for defeat, he and Holy Cross cheerleader Cindy Bandolini (Sarah Michelle Gellar) tear up the sheets. Off screen, that F5 we remember from Twister comes out of retirement to level most of Kansas, including Alan's homestead. What's a displaced son to do to raise the hundred grand his folks are going to need to rebuild a house and get out of the high school gym emergency resettlement zone?

While Cindy is fine for doobie induced simultaneous wha-hoo, Alan needs to go beyond dope induced enhancement for advice, which is where philosophy professor Chesney Cort (Joey Lauren Adams) comes in. But first, a discussion of Alan's yearning to go "out of the box," chemically, a desire discussed post coitally with the prof who, in no uncertain terms tells him that "LSD is cyanide." Turning the conversation to his financial needs -- the StudMuffin already has another, less pretty but chemically capable gal pal brewing up a batch of Owsley Original on the side -- the wise blonde tells him to get it from the dumb blonde, Cindy, who's father is a major mobster.

Alan insists that Mr. Bandolini (Gianni Russo) is only in "real estate and construction" -- we never said he was at Harvard for more than his basketball skills. The senior Mr. B's bookie operation is run by Teddy Carter (Eric Stoltz) and his hottie assistant Kelly Morgan (Rebecca Gayheart), who are not averse to running a point shaving scam. From here on out, point shaving, back room betrayals and the importance of three blue sugar cubes, and when and how they are ingested, run the show.

The problem is that director Toback loves the jump cut. You know the annoying, missing frames of film and sound where everything jerks around on the screen. His over use of this gimmick builds a wall between the characters and the audience, which is just the opposite of what good storytelling is supposed to do. It's a gimmick that is appropriate for, say, showing boredom at a lecture or implying some aspect of an LSD trip -- and you get a delightful range of effects for that -- but is used time and time again out of place. By the time the climax arrives, we had ceased to care.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Harvard Man, he would have paid . . .


Rent. Harvard Man is as funny as it is raunchy, as clever as it is corrupting. Without those damned jump cuts, it could have been one of the big box office surprises of the summer season, IMHO

amazon com link Click to buy films by James Toback
Click to buy films starring Sarah Michelle Gellar
Click to buy films starring Eric Stoltz
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.