‘Admission’ is insightful, but suffers from misleading promos

Tina Fey and Paul Rudd in ‘Admission.’ Rated PG-13, 107 min. Focus Features, 2013.

“Admission” proves that who is cast in the lead roles has a huge impact on the tone – and especially the marketing – of a film. With Tina Fey as a Princeton admissions officer and Paul Rudd as the head of a new high school with an exceptional student, the studio naturally chose to promote the film as a light romantic comedy, playing to both actors’ fans.

But “Admission” – adapted from a novel – is quickly revealed as a drama involving very personal matters of the heart, like commitment and adoption. Contrary to the bait-and-switch ads, this is not about the wacky misadventures of a college admissions officer at work, but instead focuses on what Fey’s character ultimately must “admit” to herself. In fact, some of the broader jokes in the trailers do not even appear in the movie.

This is not to say that “Admission” is disappointing, but it may feel that way to those expecting flat-out comedy. Fey and Rudd have a cute rapport, and deliver some speedy zingers, but the emotions go to places you don’t expect. While surprises in any plot are always welcome, an audience that feels misled will likely go unsatisfied, no matter how good the unusual end result may be.

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