- The Washington Times - Friday, March 22, 2002

"Slackers" pretty much exhausted my modest annual craving for campus sex farce, so I may have been a poor audience for the moronic charms of "Sorority Boys." It flails around lewdly with a far-from-irresistible pretext: Three fraternity pals banished from their party house on a trumped-up charge of financial malfeasance disguise themselves freakishly as coeds and find temporary refuge in a conveniently vacant apartment at a sorority for social lepers.
A prevailing level of facetiousness, including the brandishing of sex toys for recurrent slapstick emphasis, shows the mind-set of director Wally Wolodarsky (who sounds like he should be the master of ceremonies at a frat for incorrigible cutups) and screenwriters Joe Jarvis and Greg Coolidge (disgraces to the University of Oklahoma).
The masqueraders are played by Barry Watson, Michael Rosenbaum and Harland Williams. As roomies and the defamed "social committee" at their erstwhile fraternity, they are known as Dave, Adam and Doofer, respectively.
While hiding out at their new digs for a wearisome matter of days, they assume the names Daisy, Adina and Roberta. Because Mr. Watson is a regular on the TV series "7th Heaven" and Mr. Rosenbaum can be found on "Smallville," it may be assumed by the Disney organization that their followings will stampede the multiplexes for a drag romp.
Although Mr. Williams doesn't seem to have a TV series to cross-promote at the moment, he brings more comic baggage and eccentricity to the partnership, including the unsightliest appearance while cross-dressed.
Mr. Watson is entrusted with a humbling and complicating romance, along the lines of Tony Curtis in "Some Like It Hot." He falls for the high-minded cutie of the outcasts, Melissa Sagemiller's Leah, purportedly so nearsighted that she never notices anything funny about sharing bubbly showers with Daisy.
Mr. Rosenbaum probably comes the closest to funny behavior in drag, because Adam is the slow burner of the group, always barely suppressing the desire to retaliate for insults to his dignity.
Of course, avoiding movies as aggressively unflattering as "Sorority Boys" would be a good place to start defending your dignity.
The entire plot is kept hostage to an elusive videotape that supposedly records both a sexual escapade involving Adam and the theft of stacks of currency from the safe that sheltered social committee funds. From the look of it, the heroes also must be financing massive drug transactions.
Two calamities of the spring, "Sorority Boys" and the approaching "National Lampoon's Van Wilder," evidently aspire to be the second coming of "National Lampoon's Animal House."
"Sorority Boys" welcomes a trio of "Animal House" alums John Vernon, Mark Metcalf and Stephen Furst in minor roles. The endearing dynamo of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," Wendie Jo Sperber, also turns up playing a women's studies professor.
There's a boomerang factor with all these nostalgic gestures: They tend to underline the inferiority complex of the new movies. The complex couldn't be more justified.

1/2*
TITLE: "Sorority Boys"
RATING: R (Systematic slapstick lewdness and vulgarity; occasional profanity and a profusion of coarse sight gags predicated on sexual masquerading; frequent dependence on sex toys; fleeting nudity and allusions to drug use)
CREDITS: Directed by Wally Wolodarsky
RUNNING TIME: 100 minutes
Maximum rating: Four Stars


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