Jesse Fisher (Josh Radnor) is invited to see his old college professor,
Peter Hoberg (Richard Jenkins) retire and give his closing speech at
Liberal Arts College. While at the retirement party he meets the
beautiful, young, Zibby (Elizabeth Olsen). The pair immediately hit it
off but while their passion continues to blossom it becomes evident that
the distance and age between them could make or break the couple.
Where to start, first off this movie is directed by Josh Radnor, itís
also written by Josh Radnor, produced by Josh Radnor and starring, yep
you guessed it, Josh Radnor. Just like Inception itís a Radnor
within a Radnor and thatís my main issue with
Liberal Arts: itís just so
self-indulgent. Radnor, the rad for short, is so assured of himself in
real life that he just comes off a little too conceded. The dialogue is
unrealistic between Radnor and Olsen. She is a college student not a
professor with a degree in the English language.
doesnít play out like your usual 3 act movie either. While there might
be a setup, there is no conflict or resolution. The script lacked plot
devices that make a movie convincing. I found my attention being drawn
to Hoberg (Jenkins). His storyline of the retired professor trying to
find meaning to his life and make the last days of his life count, just
made more sense of a movie then the escapade that Jesse takes.
I hate getting film critic in my reviews, I like to talk to the reader
like they are my friend but Josh Radnor doesnít seem to know how to
direct a movie either. I found myself being shocked when he would break
first rules of angles, choosing quantity over quality. There were
numerous times that extras were in scene after scene where it would have
been physically impossible for them to have made that distance in so
little time. Liberal Arts is filled with edits that didnít seem
to connect up to the script taking me completely out of the movie and
making me think what the heck just happened. I can understand that this
is his second movie, but I would had hoped that he would have had
lessons in the art before using his fame to make movies.
While it is almost a complete failure in my eyes there was a glimmer of
hope in the extended cameo of Zack Efron as the hippy stoner Nat.
Efronís acting lit up the audience, bringing me out of my daze and
throwing in a couple of chuckles. Yet again I found myself more
intrigued in to what his character was up to, even if his screen time
was no longer than 5 minutes. It canít be a good thing when you write a
movie and accidently make the supporting cast is more entertaining than
the main storyline. Is it possible that Josh Radnor is a genius and
committed the crime on purpose? I doubt it!
comes off as an indie movie trying too hard to be an indie movie. Making
it too quirky and unique just made it more weird and unoriginal. This is
one movie I really wanted to walk out on yet little things like Efron
made me stay.