Ironically enough, Mark-Paul Gosselaar gave a hilarious performance in Dead Man On Campus! This is strange not because he is necessarily a bad actor, but because the only seemingly out of work TV actor who is less likely to make a comeback than Gosselaar is Rick Schroeder I didn't expect to ever see either of them again, and I STILL don't expect to see Schroeder any time soon. Gosselaar excellently portrays Cooper, a college kid from a rich past who has no interest in studying (having been kicked out of several colleges already, only to have his way paid into other ones by his father, a successful businessman), and only wants to party all day every day. I think that the idea to cast Gosselaar in this role was an excellent decision, because not only is it a unique casting choice (as well as fairly risky, given his heavily type-case iconography), but also because he just fit the character so well.
Playing the other half of the odd couple presented in this film is Tom Everett Scott, who is not exactly a tremendously appealing actor either. He is Cooper's primarily unwilling roommate Josh, who is seriously intent on keeping up on his studies so that he can keep a prestigious and hugely important scholarship. Josh is the straightforward student here, the Jack Lemmon of the two guys, if you will.
After having discovered the joys of partying, Josh scoffs at the hard-core studying life, parties a little too much, fails his midterms, and discovers that there is no possible way that he can ever get a high enough grade on his finals in order to keep his scholarship. Evidently, at their University, it seems that there is a rule written somewhere in the back of the school's charter that if a student commits suicide, that students roommate's will receive straight A's, as they are not expected to be able to keep up with their studies with all of the anguish that they must be going through. The majority of the film is spent watching the Josh and Cooper search the campus for people who look like unstable, and then try to get that person to move in with them before they kill themselves, therefore saving Josh and Cooper's grades.
Clearly, the story here is nothing brilliant. The film is literally full of cheesy jokes and goofy situations, but it is still funny because it doesn't pretend to be something that it's not. There are even hilarious bits of dialogue that almost seem to be actively trying to remind the audience of the type of mindless comedy that this was meant to be (`I can hear my heartbeat through my penis!'). Besides that, we are given a side-splitting performance by Lochlyn Munro, an endlessly amusing actor who seems to have been born to play the nutcase that he played in Dead Man On Campus. This guy flawlessly gives some of the funniest lines that I've heard in a movie in years `They wanted to kick me out for not obeying quiet hours? Well, they can just suck my quiet COCK!' Sophistication? Class? Definitely not. Tear-inducing hilarity? Absolutely. This is some funny stuff.
(spoilers) The film also redeems its childishness at the end of the film, in which Josh and Cooper's plans to manipulate their way into getting good grades are discarded and a healthier course of action is taken. It's amazing that a film that is dominated by this questionable plan to get straight A's is able to turn around and actually deliver something resembling a good message, and it is yet another quality of this great comedy. Dead Man On Campus has some of the same stupid characteristics of idiotic college comedies as American Pie and Road Trip, but it works on many other levels, and it doesn't sacrifice its dignity to get a few laughs. It's a low-brow comedy that respects itself, and that's a rare quality.