Dorm Daze
Grade: F
Year: 2003
Director: David & Scott Hillenbrand
Writer: Patrick Casey
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Rated: R
By Scott Spicciati

"Dorm Daze," the latest piece of trash presented to us by the heartless folks at National Lampoon is now spreading across the country making its way into college town theaters. College students will once again see how Hollywood portrays them as complete idiots and at their own expense. It doesn't get any worse than this movie, which actually makes "Van Wilder" look good, and "American Pie" brilliant.

The plot, if I can dare call it a plot, is so thin that it depends on several long-running gags to support it. Patrick Casey and Worm Miller's story takes place entirely inside a student residents' hall at some fictitious university. Because the entire movie takes place inside one building will unfortunately be exposed to the same locations taken straight out of a 'Rooms to Go' showroom display.

The movie opens with Booker (Chris Owen) and his older brother Styles (Patrick Renna) in one of the dorm rooms. Styles is preaching that it is un-cool to be a virgin and Booker needs to lose it fast. But Booker isn't in any hurry. He has a crush on a very beautiful girl down the hall, but Styles would rather see his younger brother lose his virginity to a prostitute that he hires and is soon to arrive on campus.

Because the hall Resident Assistant is on vacation, the students are left unsupervised and we soon learn what a mistake that was. Dominique the Hooker (Boti Bliss) is on her way, but so is Dominique the French foreign exchange student (Marie Noelle). If you don't already know where this is going--please, let me enlighten you.

Both Dominiques will be confused as the other, and because the non-English speaking exchange student will go around looking for Wang (Paul H. Kim), her exchange student mentor, everyone will assume she's the hooker looking for wang. This is only one of several long-running gags that could easily be absolved with a quick explanation though these students are too stupid to clarify anything. Other running-jokes are started by gossipers Marla and Lynne (Danielle Fishel and Jennifer Lyons) who assume Claire (Tatyana Ali) is being abused by her boyfriend Tony (Edwin Hodge) because every time they are seen together they are jokingly messing around.

Claire is confronted by Marla and Lynne but she quickly kills the rumor assuring them that they only tease each other. But then as Claire walks over to Tony's room, she overhears him and Adrienne (Cameron Richardson) rehearsing for some sort of play that has to do with domestic abuse and unwanted pregnancy. Tony shouts that he didn't mean to impregnate Adrienne and that they must somehow prevent the child from being born. Claire of course doesn't realize that Tony and Adrienne are acting out parts for their play. But instead clearing up this misunderstanding, it drags on through the entire film. Tony will wonder why Claire ends the relationship and Adrienne will wonder why she is called a slut.

The characters are so ridiculously implausible that cartoon personalities would reject them. They are one-dimensional idiots, every one of them. To even try to pass these characters off as college students is excessively offensive and does more injustice to the reputation of college students than any other teen-comedies, and I've seen a lot of teen comedies.

Take Newmar (Tony Denman) for instance. We see him early on riding a unicycle and wearing chemistry goggles as he parades around campus. He represents the school "nerd" because I guess nerds walk around wearing chemistry goggles. He is in love with Adrienne, but she happens to be in love with Foosball (Randy Spelling), the token homosexual; a fact that everybody knows except Adrienne. Newmar will eventually confess his love to Adrienne, although she will put him down saying, "you just aren't my type." But as soon as he writes her a poem near the end of the film, and she finally sees him without his glasses on, she is instantly attracted to him.

This tired cliché was exposed in "Not Another Teen Movie," a parody film that exploits the devices of teen movies, such as showing how an ugly girl becomes extremely attractive when she looses the glasses and pony tail. In "Dorm Daze," all it takes is the shedding of the glasses to attract the hottest girl in the dorm.

Other events are taking place as well. For some reason a purse with thousands of dollars in drug money is brought into the dorm as part of a smuggling operation although we never find out the details. At the same time Claire loses an identical looking purse that was given to her by her grandma and is desperately looking for it. The entire plot of the movie focuses on half of the characters chasing around the money and the other half looking for the legitimate purse. Of course they will get mixed up, but by that time there is a good chance that you will have already walked out.

The acting is wretched as no one can keep a straight face when saying their lines. I figure this is probably because the script offers not a shred of intelligence and many of these actors including "Boy Meets World's" Danielle Fishel must have been wondering when their careers started heading south.

Of course in movies like this we expect a lot of sexual content, but this college-teen-wannabe film can't even make the sex exciting. The only way the writers could fit the must-have nudity was to create a completely unrelated and unnecessary dream sequence as an excuse to throw in a former Playboy Playmate of the Month who is not part of the movie at all except to be naked in Styles' dream.

Everything about this movie is fake. In a scene that takes place in one of the many dorm rooms, I counted the different banners and posters that decorated the walls. In one room alone I spotted posters for the Detroit Tigers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, the Orlando Magic, and several others. What college student likes every sports team in the country? I'm sure co-directors David and Scott Hillenbrand have an answer; these characters are nothing like college students. They're failing actors performing on high-school-grade sets in a movie that would barely win Honorable Mention in a high school film festival.

I can't recall a movie that accomplishes less than "Dorm Daze." It's just a bunch of morons trying to find money and/or their love interest. Those who aren't a part of that plot are running around trying to find Claire's purse. That's it. Oh yeah, Newmar walks around asking everyone "Ya wanna eat my sausage?" After an encounter with the hooker who he misidentifies as the exchange student, Newmar wonders why the French always expect payment after being offered food. I warn you that the "sausage gag" is long-running.

"Dorm Daze" is 96 minutes in length and is completely devoid of humor. The soundtrack is repetitive ands get annoying quickly, but that's at the bottom of the list. To top off the insult, the makers of the film must believe we are as stupid as its characters because they actually distinguish the hooker and exchange student for us through title cards. Are we really that dense? Only those of us who like this movie.

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© Copyright 2003. All rights reserved. Contact Editor: Scott Spicciati