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Dorm Daze

  Dorm Daze
Danielle Fishel (left) and Tatyana Ali come together for the long-anticipated "Boy Meets World/Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" crossover.

© 2003, National Lampoon
All Rights Reserved

Set during a day's holiday at Billingsley University, "Dorm Daze" (IMDb listing) spins the tale of a student community (including such young "talent" as Tatyana Ali from "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Danielle Fishel from "Boy Meets World" and Patrick Renna from "The Sandlot") that is turned upside down when the dorms are visited by a bag full of money, a criminal and a hooker (Boti Bliss, whose "no nudity" clause provides the film's only chuckle, albeit unintentionally). Bottom-feeding wackiness ensues.

Piggybacking on the success of the "American Pie" series, "Dorm Daze" is a cheap, lazy, ceaselessly unfunny quickie made with a cast unaware their efforts are in vain, and, behind the camera, a team that doesn't quite seem to understand how movies work. The film is being released under the "National Lampoon" banner, but honestly, isn't that just another way of saying the film will be terrible? In the tradition of National Lampoon's "Senior Trip," "Class Reunion" and "Favorite Deadly Sins" comes "Dorm Daze," a comedy that asks the question: how did this basic-cable film find its way into theaters?

"Dorm Daze" is a simplistic screwball comedy that is constantly interrupted by trendy sex jokes and worn-out gross-out gags. Written by Patrick Casey and "Worm" Miller (yeah, you wouldn't use your real name either if you wrote this), the picture is lazy with every single joke it places up onscreen. Examples: the Asian character is named "Wang," which I hope is enough to describe the lengths of that joke. One character is trying to get the other students to try his "sausage," which he bought as a gift for a potential girlfriend. The cast routinely breaks the fourth wall to wink at the audience. The homosexual character is seen initially searching for his copy of "Steel Magnolias." The entire film is centered around such sitcomish, bizarre coincidences and double-entendres, that it would make Jack, Chrissy and Mr. Roper very proud. And finally, there is this endless, rampant belief by the production that all of this is gut-bustingly hilarious, which is the greatest sin of all.

Directors Scott and David Hillenbrand don't have the slightest idea on how to jazz up the script, so they encourage the cast to wildly overact. The directing team even throws in some cartoon noises and "Benny Hill"-style undercranking to keep the audience engaged. "Dorm Daze" truly is one of those pathetic comedies that is inoffensive enough on the small screen, but oh-so-insulting when it demands big screen attention. Hopefully it will quickly return to the fringes of shamelessly-knockoff cinema where it belongs.

Filmfodder Grade: F



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