John and his girlfriend have vowed to marry once they save $30,000 for their dream house. But the minute they achieve their financial goal, John finds out his niece has been accepted at Harvard, and he's reminded of his promise to pay for her tuition (nearly $30,000). John's friend Duff convinces him to turn to petty crime to make the payment … but Duff's hare-brained schemes spin quickly out of control.
"A man whose ideas were sometimes so dumb they were brilliant." This is how John Plummer (Jason Lee), the hapless hero of the mercifully short comedy "Stealing Harvard," describes his buddy Duff. Since Duff is played by Tom Green, onetime MTV personality and onetime husband of Drew Barrymore, I'm inclined to agree, though I am aware that others will not. I still have a file of letters provoked by my lonely defense of "Freddy Got Fingered," Mr. Green's feature-length test of audience patience and intestinal fortitude, released in the spring of 2001. While I stand helplessly by my judgment that the rubber-limbed, soft-spoken Canadian performer can be very funny, "Stealing Harvard" is, for the most part, nowhere near dumb enough to be brilliant. A. O. Scott
2002-09-14 | A. O. Scott | Read the New York Times Review of Stealing Harvard