You will be redirected back to your article in seconds


Luke Wilson revels in the role of a brilliant teacher, but may prove too middlebrow for mass consumption.

With: Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol, David Koechner, Bob Gunton, Sasha Alexander, Rosemarie DeWitt.

“Tenure,” and what a laid-back associate professor will sacrifice to get it, is the subject of tyro writer-director Mike Million’s college-set laffer. Luke Wilson revels in the role of a brilliant teacher whose tenure track is derailed by his failure to publish or ingratiate himself with colleagues, deans and chairpersons. But aside from Wilson and departmental rival/romantic interest Gretchen Mol, the pic’s faculty seems to have been shipped in wholesale from a high school comedy, with puerile gags to match. Blowtorch Entertainment’s debut production, as yet unskedded for release, may prove too safely middlebrow for mass consumption.

Having already failed at more prestigious universities, Charlie Thurber (Wilson) sees Gray College as his last chance to grab the academic brass ring. The odds are in his favor until prestigiously published Elaine Grasso (Mol) joins the English department. Egged on by his best friend, Jay Hadley (David Koechner), an anthropology prof whose obsession with Bigfoot put the kibosh on his own tenure bid, Charlie reluctantly agrees to actively campaign against his sweet, attractive colleague, inevitably winding up helping rather than sabotaging her.

Besides, any interactions with women take a back seat to Charlie’s many ill-advised, borderline idiotic misadventures with Hadley, from toilet-papering the dean’s house to investing in an herbal aid for sexual potency, as well as innumerable Bigfoot-tracking expeditions. These do yield some of the pic’s better absurdist gags; less strident, though ultimately more rewarding, are Charlie’s visits with his professor emeritus father (a sardonic, scene-stealing Bob Gunton) in a nursing home.

Though partly shot on the Bryn Mawr campus, “Tenure” never anchors itself firmly enough in academia to successfully parody it. Not that the teachers are too petty or stupid to be believable, but their pettiness and stupidity — revolving around lifted toilet seats and purloined Cokes — lack specific academic coloration or context. Aside from some excellent thesping by Wilson and Gunton, and a hilarious extracurricular turn by Rosemarie DeWitt, the cast brings little sophistry to the table; Mol’s perf is as romantically understated as Koechner’s is farcically overblown.

Stalled somewhere between a comic Mr. Chips-ian character study and a National Lampoon campus spoof, the underwhelming pic never finds its focus.


Production: A Blowtorch Entertainment production. (International sales: Inferno Intl., Los Angeles.) Produced by Brendan McDonald, Paul Schiff, Tai Duncan. Executive producers, Kelly Rodriques, Richard Hull, Dominic Ianno. Directed, written by Mike Million.

Crew: Camera (color), Steve Yedlin; editor, Tom McArdle; music, John Frizzell; production designer, Beth Mickle; sound (Dolby Digital), Chris Kellet; supervising sound editor, Frederick Helm; casting, Diane Heery, Jason Loftus, Anne McCarthy. Reviewed at Hamptons Film Festival, Oct. 10, 2009. Running time: 89 MIN.

With: With: Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol, David Koechner, Bob Gunton, Sasha Alexander, Rosemarie DeWitt.

More Film

  • Franco Zeffirelli Remembered

    Franco Zeffirelli: An Artist and a Paradox

    When popular artists pass on, it can often be a surprise to learn just how old they were. But the news of Franco Zeffirelli’s death, at 96, inspired a major double take. The extravagant Italian maestro of theater, opera and film lived to a vibrant old age. Yet for many of us, the name Zeffirelli [...]

  • Evan Tanner, Professional mixed martial arts

    UFC Fighter Evan Tanner Biopic ‘The Power of 1’ in the Works (EXCLUSIVE)

    Producers Christopher Scheimann and Olcun Tan have partnered with top sports director Bobby Razak on “The Power of 1,” a feature biopic of UFC fighter Evan Tanner. Co-written by Scheimann and Razak, the movie is slated to go into pre-production toward the end of this year, with principal photography planned for early next year. Tanner, [...]

  • The Grove Introduces Drive-In Rooftop Movie

    The Grove Introduces Drive-In Rooftop Movie Theater Level 8

    The Grove is ringing in summer with a new rooftop movie theater. The popular Los Angeles shopping mall, located between Fairfax and La Brea, announced today the launch of their new cinema experience titled Level 8 Drive-in, which will kick off with a screening of “Grease” on June 26 and will run through September. Inspired [...]

  • China, Shanghai Exhibition Centre, Soviet-style Facade

    Shanghai: China Market 'Has Always Been a Turbulent One,' Says Infotainment Chief (EXCLUSIVE)

    Movie sales and distribution company Infotainment China comes to the Shanghai International Film Festival optimistic about Chinese audience trends, but gloomy about current business conditions. “The market is bad and industry players are very pessimistic. I just hope it doesn’t get worse,” said Infotainment CEO Cindy Lin, though she noted that such periods of trouble [...]

  • Billy Eichner Power of Pride Variety

    Billy Eichner on the Homophobia He Still Sees in Comedy and Hollywood

    On “Billy on the Street,” Billy Eichner has made a name for himself running up and down Manhattan’s sidewalks, ambushing clueless New Yorkers and interrogating them about pop culture. A brash physical comedian, Eichner has no qualms about asking perfect strangers embarrassing questions, hectoring pedestrians about their willingness to have a threesome with Jon Hamm [...]

  • State of Pride Full

    How Hollywood Is (and Isn't) Getting Better at LGBTQ Inclusion

    Brandon Flynn, one of the breakout actors from Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why,” has spent the last two years fielding questions about his personal life. In 2017, he wrote a passionate post on Instagram, advocating for an Australian vote that allowed for same-sex marriage. Soon enough, news sites such as HuffPost and E! News were reporting [...]

  • Prince Mohammed bin Salman Abdulaziz al

    Saudi Crown Prince Should Be Investigated Over Khashoggi Killing, U.N. Report Says

    Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, should be investigated in connection with the killing of Jamal Khashoggi because of “credible evidence” that the prince is among those liable for the dissident journalist’s death, a United Nations report said Wednesday. While no “smoking gun” has yet been found that directly incriminates the prince [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content