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Tina Fey and Paul Rudd star in 'Admission'

Tina Fey is sharply funny on TV and on the page, but she and Rudd are working with hackneyed material in 'Admission.'

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Tina Fey (l.) and Paul Rudd (r.) star in 'Admission.'

David Lee/Focus Features/AP

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Tina Fey is so smart, sharp, and funny in her television work and on the page that it remains a mystery to me why she continually cancels herself out as a movie actress, most pointedly in “The Invention of Lying” and “Date Night.”

In Paul Weitz’s “Admission,” she plays Portia, a Princeton admissions counselor who becomes a crusader for an unlikely but precocious candidate from an alternative high school run by Paul Rudd’s John. (The boy is very well played by Nat Wolff.) Granted, this is not automatic laugh-riot material, nor should it be, but didn’t Fey recognize how hackneyed it all is? Does being a movie star mean blanding out everything that makes you special? Grade: C- (Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual material.)


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