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The Freshman (1990)

The Freshman is probably best known for Marlon Brando doing a parody of his legendary Godfather character. While in itself, this performance is pretty funny, the film in which it occurs is fairly forgettable, and ultimately a letdown.

Matthew Broderick stars as Clark Kellogg, a freshman at NYU film school who gets fleeced of all his belongings before he even sets foot on campus. The perpetrator is Victor Ray (Bruno Kirby) who, when Clark catches up with him, sets him up with a job working for Vic's uncle, Carmine Sabatini (Brando), who Clark immediately notices bears an uncanny resemblance to Don Corleone. Clark's job, for which he will be compensated $500, is to transport some unidentified cargo from JFK Airport to Cherry Hill, NJ.

Clark is more than a little surprised when he finds out that the cargo he is to move is, in fact, a Komodo dragon. He decides that this job is not for him, and wants to get out, but Carmine has taken quite a liking to this kid, so much so that he insists Clark marry his only daughter, Tina (Penelope Ann Miller). Clark is confused by the whole situation, and even moreso when federal agents need his help in their investigation of Carmine's use of these endangered species. As it turns out, more than one party involved in this fiasco are not revealing all the cards they have been dealt.

The Freshman is a harmless film, intended simply to make you laugh. And there are a few laughs to be had here, but not nearly as many as would be expected. A lot of the jokes fall flat, such as how everybody seems to think Clark is from a different state in the Midwest. Throughout the film, I found myself just waiting for something better to happen, and it never really did. It's good to see a movie do a send-up of gangster flicks, but this one just doesn't do much for me.

Christopher Moyer
March 6, 2005

- Directed by Andrew Bergman
- Written by Andrew Bergman
- Produced by Mike Lobell

Cast
Marlon Brando - Carmine Sabatini
Matthew Broderick - Clark Kellogg
Bruno Kirby - Victor Ray
Penelope Ann Miller - Tina Sabatini

- Genres: Comedy, Crime