Noah Applebaum, Jonathan Dicks, Christopher Clark Cowan, Brandon Lea
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
James Francis Flynn
NR (Adult Situations)
When Nathan (Jonathan Dicks) finds out that his college's new Dean is about to turn his beloved art school into, GASP!, a business school, he springs into action with the help of an equally angry professor.
"Eastern College," written and directed by James Francis Flynn, is either a comedy that is not always funny or a drama that has its share of laughs.
Take your pick.
There is no doubt, however, that "Eastern College" is a notch above many of the similar young adult serio-comedies that hit the multiplexes. In the case of "Eastern College," which is following its festival run with a straight-to-DVD release on RSquared Films, the film feels an awful lot like Greg Mottola's "Adventureland," a film that undeservedly languished at the box-office largely because it was so successfully funny and serious that its studio had no clue how to market the film.
While "Eastern College" certainly isn't a groundbreaking film in terms of the story it tells and the scenario it sets up, it is a refreshingly involving one largely owing to Flynn's crisp, authentic dialogue and a cast whose chemistry feels like they've genuinely been hanging around together for at least the past four years.
The film doesn't necessarily center on Nathan, but it is Jonathan Dicks as Nathan that gives "Eastern College" its groundedness around which Flynn places Nathan's slightly less normal buddies, Dom (Christopher Clark Cowan), Bob (Brandon Lea) and the film's most involving character, Justin (Noah Applebaum). Applebaum, as well, offers the film's most satisfying performance, though this may simply be due to the fact that his character is the most complex.
With touches of silly, collegiate gross-out humor intermixed with the film's surprisingly gentle coming-of-age story, writer/director James Francis Flynn does what seems to baffle most Hollywood writers by nicely blending humor, heart and honesty in a way that touches on Apatow with equal hints of early Cameron Crowe.
"Eastern College is competently lensed by Anthony Rickert-Epstein, who also edits the film in such a way that the film's emotional scenes are allowed to linger for a few seconds.
Having just been released on DVD, "Eastern College" is available at most online DVD outlets including Amazon, Target.com, Bestbuy.com and Barnesandnoble.com.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic