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PCU

Port Charles University is the home of a rather diverse group of politically correct students in PCU (1994). Jeremy Piven stars as Jason 'Droz' Andrews, a 7th-year senior who leads a group of fellow students who reside in "The Pit." These misfits are an odd collection of slackers and potheads, often deriding students who spend their days not in a classroom, but protesting everything from red meat, discrimination against gays in the military, and the imprisonment of the already-freed Nelson Mandela. Tom Lawrence (Chris Young) is a preppy "pre-frosh" on campus for a weekend to decide if he'll attend in the fall. Naturally, his host is Droz, who takes him under his wing. Eventually Tom manages to upset the entire student body by offending their particular sensitivities, and he spends the better part of the film running from an angry mob — throwing meat on vegetarian protesters, stealing the Frisbee from a game between hippies and feminists, and destroying thesis papers in a room full of grad students will do that. David Spade brings his whiny antics as Rand McPherson, the Reagan-worshipping head of a preppy frat known as "Balls and Shaft," who also happen to be the previous residents of The Pit. They want their house back, and McPherson schemes with school president Garcia-Thompson (Jessica Walter in the "crusty old dean" role) to get Droz and company out on a (get this) "technicality." Unless they can raise $7,000 in one day, they'll have to leave the house. And what do crazy college kids do to raise money? Why, throw a party! After, all, he oppressed student body is ready to be set free, they just don't know it. Fortunately, George Clinton shows up everybody finds a way to get along — assuredly due to the bringing of the funk. Unfortunately, viewers expecting the crazy Pit kids to save the day with a wacky stunt or vicious prank may be in for a let-down. Piven has a good turn in PCU as Droz, although it wasn't quite the star-making event he'd certainly hoped for. A decade later he would appear in another college comedy (Old School), but time as the uptight dean character. Jon Favreau has a fun role as Booker, the stoner of the house, and it appears he added more than a few pounds for the part. In probably the highlight of the film, Favreau stumbles into town on a beer run, gets accosted by an old lady, passes out, and then imagines himself testifying before Congress on his checkered past. Megan Ward provides a touch of cuteness, but is given the worst dialogue in the film ("Wait a minute… are you talking about a party!?!"). Director Hart Bochner has created a college comedy that, while not as funny, quote-able, or skin-revealing as other films of its kind, is still an amusing take on the political correctness that first arrived on college campuses in the early '90s. Fox's DVD release of PCU offers both widescreen (1.85:1) and full-frame transfers. Bachas and Piven provide commentary tracks, while a 30-minute featurette (masquerading as an advertisement for Port Charles), a Mudhoney video, and a trailer round out the features. Keep-case.
—Scott Anderson



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