A cult classic which attempts to follow in the footsteps of Animal House while failing to tread any new ground except as a moment of the zeitgeist in which it was created. We’re talking of course about 1994, which was sort of the year that the Reagan Era (Error?) ended, and Political Correctness was enjoying its zenith in the cultural mindset.
This was a world before the Internet, where people spent their time offline in the real world, pursuing love, actual physical activities, trying to save the world and the hip hop bling-bling culture had not become the norm.
The story is about a clean cut pre-freshman (pre-frosh in frat lingo) from Delaware (played ably by Chris Young as Tom Lawrence) who arrives after a long sleepy bus ride to the fictional Port Chester University, a place where fraternities have long since been banned and political correctness is running rampant (hence the title’s play on name, PCU).
There are the usual college movie devices; the cool man on campus (Jeremy Piven as Droz) who has been attending well beyond the norm; jocks; thesis cheating, and core to the tale, a social struggle between the honest underdogs (The Pit) and the preppy elitists (lead admirably by David Spade, the Reaganite leader of Balls and Shaft, the underground fraternity plotting to get their frathouse back from The Pit).
I won’t go much into the dynamics of the struggle except to say it is mildly amusing and a little bit too convenient to the plot-line. The highlight of the movie is a young Jon Favreau playing a grungey space-case music major by the name of Gutter, and the beautifully shot pastel and tie-dye stoner culture that was the early 90s.
While not exactly a stoner movie, per se, PCU has elements of stoner activity in the Bill & Tedish air-heads (Dave & Dave) from The Pit and the campus pot-heads who spend their days playing Frisbee football, with a dog named Blotter. An awesome scene is the pre-Swingers Jon Favreau, epitomizing the mentally challenged on a fool’s mission, when on his was to get the beer for the house party, and gets detoured after a couple of huge bong hits with the tie-dye set.
Wasted, and on his way to buy kegs in town, an older woman on the street walks up to him and asks "Can you blow me where the pampers is?" He looks at her dazed (photo, top), and she repeats the request, on the third time saying "Can you show me where the campus is?" before walking away, shaking her head in disgust.
Then transition to nighttime, waking up on the sidewalk long after the liquor store has closed, he just sits around picking his nose. Then a bus with George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic pulls up and ask Favreau’s character the way to their concert, for which they have little time to get to. He tells them they’ll never make their concert and they agree to give him a lift to the house… Ultimately, Gutter inadvertently saves the day, when predictably, they agree to play at the party (a mediocre performance if you ask me) and raise the funds to save the slacker house.
All in all a fun movie worth the price, if for anything just to reminisce about life back in the days when the greatest threat to Homeland Security was a 2LiveCrew album, and political correctness changed the face of America.
Best quote of the movie? When Droz says to Gutter, "… what is this, you are going to wear THIS to the show … you are going to wear the shirt of the band you are going to see … don’t be that guy …" classic!
Also check out PCU, Where Are They Now? at www.mutantreviewers.com/pwherenow.html