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— by Robert Mancini, with additional reporting by Iann Robinson

It's why Homer Simpson tagged along with the Hullabalooza tour. It's why Tyler Durden desperately begged to be punched in the face (and eventually plotted a revolution) in "Fight Club." It's why 31-year-old Johnny Knoxville hooked up electrodes to his nipples.

It's called adulthood, and it can be dead f---ing boring if you're not careful.

 'Old School' Photos
Roughly one one-hundredth of 1 percent of us will blossom into rock stars, professional athletes, actors, models and other high-profile, high-paying, seemingly freewheeling positions. For the rest, it's going to be a life of work, bills, work, child care, work, "relationship management," work and two piddling weeks of vacation a year.

That somewhat dismal view of life after youth provides the backdrop for "Old School," an anarchistic fantasy wherein 30-somethings, overwhelmed by mortgages, marriage and the commitments of adulthood, plunge headlong into the kind of gloriously organized rebellion that only repressed grown men can conjure up. Consider it "Fight Club" with beer bongs instead of bare knuckles.

 'Old School' Clip
Frank streaks
Suddenly without his girl and his home, yet still saddled with a slate gray job in real estate law, Mitch (Luke Wilson) takes up residence in a house near a college campus. With more than a little help from his friends Beanie (Vince Vaughn) and Frank (Will Ferrell) — who view Mitch's loss as their chance to gain a little independence — he attempts to turn back the clock and relive the carefree days of college. See Ferrell streak. See Wilson step into a pit of K-Y Jelly to wrestle a female opponent. See Vaughn chain-smoke his way through a gymnastics routine.

Booze is swilled, clothing is shed and lessons are learned, but this is not another college party flick. As writer/director Todd Phillips has said, "These aren't college kids. These are three guys in their 30s who are at that point in their lives when they have to choose what path they're going to take. In a nutshell, it's responsibility versus irresponsibility. So they take what most people would consider to be a step backwards and devolve over the course of the story, but it ends up being to their advantage."

While Phillips is perhaps best known as the man behind the 2000 collegiate romp "Road Trip," he's also the director who gave the world 1994's "Hated," an unflinching documentary that glimpsed into the life of crude, violent and truly, truly sick punk oddity G.G. Allin. Phillips' involvement promised to steer "Old School" well out of "Porky's" territory and helped to reel in his dream cast of Wilson, Vaughn and Ferrell.

 '...then they'll be into the story, too, and actually like the guys instead of just liking the gags.' — Luke Wilson
"We didn't want to just do some totally broad comedy," Wilson explained. "That's what's good about Todd. He doesn't go for the obvious. If you've got a choice between the obvious joke and the more subversive funny joke, he's gonna go for the more subversive one, and we're all kind of into that. That way, you get the best of both worlds: you get a movie that some kid's going to want to see, and then they'll be into the story, too, and actually like the guys instead of just liking the gags."

The resulting stream of well-crafted laughs owes less to "Animal House" than to "Office Space." Yes, there's streaking, beer blasts and jelly wrestling, but they're tackled with gusto by characters who are sympathetic: they're bored, frustrated and ultimately let down by the way adulthood can fail to deliver on the promise of youth. Robbed of fun for so long, they finally begin to lunge for as much of it as they can find, and you find yourself rooting for them in the process.

"That's the one thing that we all worked on," Vaughn said. "We worked hard on the specific connection between all of us and the story that's running through [the film]. Todd was great. You know when you're kids and you've got a video camera and you're screwing around and doing stuff? We'd show up on the set and be like, 'Let's change this,' and he was like, 'Yeah.' "

"And that makes it much more exciting," Wilson added. "You actually feel like you're getting to create something."




NEXT: Ferrell skips smashing his head through glass but has no problem showing his ass...
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Photo: DreamWorks Pictures


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