Taylor Rockefeller’s life sucks. Her mom is pressuring her to pick an Ivy League school even as her grades slowly fall, her parents are separating, and she has this teeny tiny problem with stealing her neighbors’ mail. Nothing is going right for her, until she visits Yates College. Yates is everything Taylor (played by Mae Whitman of TV’s Parenthood) is looking for in a school, and she knows it is where she is meant to be.
While her classmates prep for Harvard and MIT, Taylor must find a way to prove to the interim Dean of Admissions that she is Yates material. But can she get into one of the top 50 ranked schools in America (even if they were accidentally placed on the top 50 list) when even her admissions essay on Mother Teresa winds up being depressing?
Acceptance is an over the top look at what the underachievers and normal people missed out on in high school. While the protagonist of this made-for-television movie is Taylor, almost all of the kids in her school are freaking out about having the perfect transcript, the perfect answers and the perfect life, all so they can pay a ton of money for a four year degree from a well known school. They give up their favorite extracurricular activities, sense of style, even their sanity to look good for Harvard or Yale, simply because it’s been ingrained in them since birth that they must go to an Ivy League school or risk an inferior education and thus an inferior life.
This isn’t the only part of the film that’s overly dramatic. The acting is just as ridiculous. Joan Cusack is normally a solid actress, but even she couldn’t tone down the part of Taylor’s mom. The end result is a crazy pill popper who chases every word out of her mouth (and there are a lot of them) with booze and ends up rolling around in a pile of her daughter’s stolen mail. At which point, Taylor walks in and her mom straight up suggests that Taylor should have a more relatable personal issue, like bulimia, so she could bitch about it to the other moms without feeling like a freak. Seriously? Way to take some of the pressure off, mom.
The realism of the film is in no way aided by the fact that everything seems to work out absolutely perfectly for every character all the time. On the day that Maya is allowed back on the swim team for the biggest meet of the year, her swimsuit just happens to be in Taylor’s bag of mail to return. It just seems to fit together too perfectly to be believable as real life. Oh, except the part where Taylor randomly starts cutting herself and then decides never to do it again because it’s wrong. That came out of nowhere. Was she not screwed up enough before that point?
The audio quality is nothing special, but definitely not an issue (although it’s one of the only things that isn’t) and the picture quality is also decent.
Acceptance is your run of the mill coming-of-age comedy that doesn’t really flow or make a lot of sense. While it’s certainly not high quality entertainment, there are some funny scenes and anyone who ran to the mailbox right after school every day to look for large envelopes from prestigious universities will probably relate. As for me, this film really just made me glad that I skipped too many classes to even consider Brown or Harvard.
DVD Bonus Features
There are no bonus features on this disc.
"Acceptance" is on sale August 3, 2010 and is not rated. Comedy, Television. Directed by Sanaa Hamri. Written by Suzette Couture, Susan Coll. Starring Brigid Brannagh, Deepti Daryanani, Joan Cusack, Jonathan Keltz, Mae Whitman.