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aka - National Lampoon's Animal House
USA 1978
Directed by
John Landis
109 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
1.5 stars

Animal House

This benchmark college comedy was a massive hit in its day and established a style of lowbrow screen comedy that was repeated countless times thereafter, eventually maturing into John Hughes' Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). On the one hand there's the admirably hedonistic slackers, only interested in beer and girls, on the other your preppy cardigan-wearing varsity squares, and in the middle, the college authorities (providing an amusing pre-echo of John Jeffries' hapless principal in Ferris).

Whether it's any good or not as a comedy probably depends on your age and/or how many beers and joints you've had. Taken straight, the over-the-top, short-career-making performance of John Belushi as Bluto, a chronically offensive slob aside, except for the music (there are pointers to Landis's much better 1980 follow up, The Blues Brothers, particularly with the appearance of Otis Day and the Knights), it's witless juvenilism is tiresome. Features early screen roles for Kevin Bacon and Tom Hulce.




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