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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > National Lampoon's Dorm Daze (Uncut)

National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze: Unrated Edition


Picture: B     Sound: B-     Extras: C-     Film: D (I’d give it an F if I could)



In 1978, National Lampoon magazine got into the movie making business.  Their first film was a huge success, a little film called Animal House.  Then in the 1980s, they followed up with the Vacation film series, another bolstering success.  But when the 1990s began, well, National Lampoon just kind of fell off the map, motion picture wise anyway.  Most of their releases began to end up in their direct-to-video category, a category that never yields a great film.  They tried to make a comeback recently with Van Wilder, but no one was taking the bait.  And with their upcoming Golddiggers, it’s almost as if they’re just not even trying anymore.  One of their recent blunders includes a direct-to-video title called Dorm Daze.  It is a story (wait, is there a story?) about the final day before Christmas vacation at a college dorm where nothing goes right, double innuendos flood the halls, and no one is ever in the right place at the right time.  But wait, it is the unrated version!  So that means breasts and lesbians and wild fantasies brought to life and just gobs of sex that will redeem everything, right?  Well, no, actually, and it’s eve quite hard to understand how this is even “unrated.”


The film stars a bunch of people who seem like they should be making a comeback in The Surreal Life.  First, there’s the fat, red-headed kid who was the catcher in The Sandlot, who’s now older and much slimmer, trying to “get some” for his brother by means of a hooker.  Then there’s Topanga from Boy Meets World who, with her friend, is the stereotypical gossip breeder of the building.  The rest of the cast is a bunch of no names, but it does not matter, as not a single person in the movie could act.  There are about nine different storylines going on at once which gets very confusing but ultimately it just makes you want to see the end credits finally roll.  Clocking in at 97 minutes, the film seemed about 57 minutes too long.  But the basic storyline is this: a brother wants to “get some” for his brother so he orders him a hooker named Dominique, but alas, the brother is saving himself for true love.  Meanwhile, a foreign exchange student is coming (one day before Christmas break?) also named Dominique.  You can pretty much figure out the rest.  Oh yeah, and throw in a hitman looking for a bag of cash storyline in there too.  Every scene has basically two characters talking; only both characters think they’re talking about different subjects.  It is complicated, but somehow, some of it is cleverly written, but that is not saying much.  The film just drags on too long and there is not anything of value in the movie.


The video is presented in 1.85:1 in anamorphic widescreen.  The quality of video overall isn’t the best.  Often time, scenes are grainy and occasional rough spots will show up.  It also seems that a few of the scenes suffer from slight compression issues.  Colors do stay solid, though.  The sound is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and there is the option to have English or Spanish subtitles.  There really is no reason to have a 5.1 mix for this film since the movie is almost entirely dialogue driven and utilizes the center channel.  Only occasionally do rear speakers get used.


So maybe the extras are good, right?  Wrong.  The audio commentary is mind-numbingly horrible.  The two directors and editors drone on and on about basically what you are watching on screen and can pick up just by watching, but they also discuss things that have no purpose in the commentary.  One of the things being that they plug other MGM titles by saying such-and-such was in this film and such-and-such was in this film.  Shameless.  The other thing that was bad was them pointing out all these little homages and tributes they threw into their film to honor classic films and film noir.  What is the point of mentioning all this when their audience is a bunch of under-sexed teenagers who do not need or care for a lesson in film history?  They really did not consider their audience in this one.


Other extras include a gag reel and deleted scenes, which basically were just bad.  Also included was a making of the sex fantasy scene, which, was also bad.  It is really disturbing to watch the writers in that featurette because they look like sex starved thirty-year-olds getting off on their material.  Also included is this horrible segment called “National Lampoon’s Master Debaters” which is a mock-debate arguing whether or not X-ray vision is the best super power or not.  First off, it has nothing to do with the film, and second off, it is just unbearable to watch.  The only other extras are an endless barrage of trailers for other MGM titles.


Zero.  That is the number of times I laughed while watching this film.  Everything about this film is just wrong and horrible.  I try to find a shred of good in even the bad movies I watch, but there was nothing redeemable about this film.  Throw in the towel National Lampoon.  The party is definitely over.



-   Antonio Lopez


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