Arriving in Atlanta theaters this week: Admission, the new film starring Tina Fey as Princeton admissions officer Portia Nathan. Portia’s world is turned upside down by a series of personal revelations and interactions with John Pressman (Paul Rudd), a free-wheeling do-gooder who believes his student, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), is the son Portia gave up for adoption when she was young. Portia begins to bend the rules to try and get Jeremiah into Princeton, putting the life she wanted at risk in exchange for something unexpected and far more interesting.
Tina Fey is at her best when she’s writing her own material. That’s why her most memorable roles to date come from 30 Rock and Mean Girls, along with her take on Sarah Palin for Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately, Fey didn’t write Admission, and while she still delivers a pretty great performance, it’s easy to imagine her role—and this film as a whole—popping a little more with Fey’s razor-sharp dialogue.
Fortunately, Admission is still good for several laughs, thanks to the performances of Fey, Rudd, and a talented ensemble that also includes Lily Tomlin, Wallace Shawn, and Michael Sheen. It’s nothing revelatory, though. I can only hope that Fey gets back into feature writing sooner than later, because we need another top-notch Tina Fey film.