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STUDIO: Blowtorch Ent.
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
- Deleted Scenes
Charlie Thurber is a second generation English professor trying to get tenure. When the college sends in a possible replacement (should he not get tenure) in the form of Elaine Grasso, Charlie begins to fall for her. Seriously. That’s it.
Director/Writer: Mike Million
Starring: Luke Wilson, Gretchen Mol, David Koechner, Rosemarie DeWitt, Andrew Daly, Kate Walsh
Charlie (Wilson) is an incredible English professor and his students absolutely love him (one young lady might love him a little too much), but his writing has never been published. Now approaching his deadline for tenure, he has to get published and prove his worth or else tenure is out of the question. It doesn’t help that Charlie’s father, a retired English professor, is pressuring him. Charlie’s best friend, Anthropology professor Jay Hadley (Koechner), is keeping Charlie on his toes with an insane hunt for Big Foot and a proclivity for pharmaceuticals. The dean, in doubt of Charlie’s potential, hires a new English professor named Elaine (Mol), and against Charlie’s better judgment, he begins to fall for her. Throw in Charlie’s profane sister (Walsh) and a telethon worker (DeWitt), and you’ve got Tenure. For better or for worse.
WHY ISN’T THIS FUNNY?!
Yes, the plot is as unnecessarily convoluted as described above. The cast is filled with hilarious talent, but it’s all squandered. Did writer/director Mike Million aspire to create a banal failure of a dramedy, or did he sincerely hope to craft a witty and wry comedy? If his sights were aimed low, he succeeded tremendously. Tenure is not funny. At all. I did not laugh once during the entire 89 minute run time. I will credit Tenure with this: for being 89 minutes of unfunny, mundane plot, it thankfully felt short. Luke Wilson has long been considered box office poison, and his career of late has consisted of AT&T ads (which were pulled when market research showed people were responding negatively to Wilson) and DTV drivel like Tenure. Personally, I love Luke Wilson and I don’t understand the blatant indifference and outright disdain for him as an actor. I even love chubby AT&T peddling Luke Wilson. Give the guy a break. If you were benched in your prime, you’d have a double chin too.
Luke Wilson teaches the kids the importance of 3G coverage.
But it’s not just Wilson who is put to waste here. Koechner, whose memorable roles in films like Anchorman and The Office have proven his weight in comic gold, is given a meaningless subplot involving a hunt for Big Foot. The idea of Koechner forming a Big Foot Club and measuring giant footprints in the woods must look hilarious on paper, but in the film it is humorless and flat. Gretchen Mol shows up and does what she’s good at: being adorable. Andrew Daly is the only actor who almost gets a laugh during a dinner scene where she shows himself to be a real ass. And Rosemarie DeWitt, who I love in United States of Tara every week, is perhaps given the most thankless and useless role of all as a telethon worker hired by Charlie to be his date for possibly the most absurd and illogical reason ever.
Tenure strives to take basic plot elements from romantic comedies and put them to some use, but instead becomes a meandering, joyless experience. The talent is wasted, the potentially funny plot elements are robbed of their comic value, and by the end you’ll feel like someone has been going over you with a garden rake for the last hour: not overly horrific, but annoyingly painful enough that you’ll wish you found something better to do with your time.
Tenure takes perfectly good ingredients and turns out a half-baked, tasteless product.
If a sub-plot gets lost in the woods with no one around, will anyone give a shit?
There are two deleted scenes that probably wouldn’t have made a difference if they had stayed in the final film, and some outtakes, which probably would have been the funniest part of the DVD, had I not been so wiped out by the 89 minutes prior.
2.0 out of 10