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'Dead Man on Campus'

By Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 21, 1998

  Movie Critic

Dead Man on Campus width= Tom Everett Scott stars in "Dead Man on Campus." (Paramount)

Alan Cohn
Mark-Paul Gosselaar;
Alyson Hannigan;
Tom Everett Scott;
Poppy Montgomery;
Lochlyn Munro
Running Time:
1 hour, 36 minutes
Under 17 restricted

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After postponing the opening of its "Dead Man on Campus" for month after month, Paramount Pictures can finally breathe a sigh of relief – because the sophomoric comedy does not reek nearly as badly as studio honchos and reviewers might have feared.

That's the good news.

The bad news is that the opening credits, which make sick and darkly comic allusions to suicide, are the best thing about the film, revolving around the efforts of two failing college freshman (Tom Everett Scott and Mark-Paul Gosselaar) to exploit a little-know loophole in their school's charter. If their roommate kills himself, they will be awarded straight A's in order to compensate for their grief.

The second best thing about the movie is Scott who, as the smart pre-med scholarship student led astray, brings a winsomeness and touch of actual humanity to the role of Josh. As his wastrel roomie Cooper, Gosselaar is no better than he was on the lame sitcom "Saved by the Bell," thankfully no longer on the air. Lochlyn Munro is rather amusing as the reckless, party-hardy frat boy they first try to recruit as a roommate, but Randy Pearlstein is a bit over-the-top as their second choice, a paranoid computer nerd with a Bill-Gates persecution complex.

The third best thing about "Dead Man" is the sound track, featuring songs by Marilyn Manson and Squirrel Nut Zippers. It is a movie whose appeal will diminish in direct proportion to the number of years it has been since you were a sexually-frustrated, pimply-faced undergrad.


© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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