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  • A fair-to-middling low-budget comedy, "Freshman Orientation" has some good-natured fun lampooning the stereotypes and clichés of college life. Kewpie-faced Clay Adams is an undergrad frat pledge who pretends to be gay in order to snag the girl of his dreams. Just how this paradoxical turn-of-events comes about need not be reiterated here. Suffice it to say that it involves fraternity and sorority initiation pranks that wind up at cross purposes with one another.

    Suffering from its own case of identity confusion, director Ryan Shiraki's screenplay reinforces stereotypes even as it's working hard to beat those stereotypes down. Gays, in particular, may find themselves evenly divided between encouragement and dismay over how they are portrayed in this film.

    Still, there are enough moments of loopy charm to make the film worth seeing on a slow, rainy afternoon, and Sam Huntington and Kaitlin Doubleday have appeal and charisma to spare as Clay and his girl. And, as an added bonus, they are joined by John Goodman and Rachel Dratch in minor supporting roles.
  • ssto28 September 2007
    i went expecting to see a really stupid teen comedy, and was a bit surprised, because it exceeded my expectations but in a good way. it really starts with all the clichés you can expect, but later develops into something really watchable and entertaining. after the first few minutes then i was ready to leave the cinema - i went to watch the movie at a free 'Advance Movie Screening' in Cinema Village and expected that it is a new movie, so after the first few minutes i thought 'why are they still making stupid movies like this? don't they think we had enough of this crap already'? but now that i see it was released in 2004, i'm kinda relieved :) so...after the first about 10 minutes, as the movie develops, i began to see some real story develop, with nice dialog, funny moments (even grossly funny, but hm...in a good way :)

    actually - why am i writing such a long comment? 3 years after its release, there isn't a single comment on this movie here, and even at the free prescreening there were so few people....i actually intended to go see 'Lust, Caution', but apparently the interest there was huge...

    but to get to my point - this is actually a good movie, you just need to give it a chance, and i believe you'd enjoy it

    peace
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm not sure what the sexuality is of the director/writer of Freshman Orientation (Or, Home of Phobia), Ryan Shiraki, but after watching this "feel-good" about being gay movie, my suspicion is that he's straight and did all the research on that opposite "lifestyle" to make this movie. Much like, I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (made afterward), both movies throw every cliché, every "Dorothy" comment, every stereotype in as if they just read a bunch of old Advocate magazines and took notes.

    That's not to say it was a bad movie, in fact, Freshman Orientation was a relatively sweet movie at times, thanks to Huntington (which was interesting to see him away from his (probably) one-time stint as Jimmy Olsen) and Doubleday. Sure, it was filled with said clichés both with the homosexual references and the college types, predictable as all Hades and a tad bit uneven, and yet, I would recommend for a slow movie night.

    Clay (Huntington) arrives at college to meet all the usual suspects in these college-dayz movies. Amanda (Doubleday) says goodbye to her familiar drunk single, stuck-up mother and arrives at her sorority house of the normal smiling bitches. She gets taken by the boring ladies down her path to find & humiliate a "fag" to pledge herself while Clay and new friend, Matt (Erwin), try to join the fraternity brothers and WHAM!, the two stories collide.

    Clay's mistaken for gay and is used for her sorority sister prank while he uses her to, well, just get laid by acting gay. He must learn to "be gay" to get the girl, if that makes any sense while she must learn to open up to someone and reject her stuck-up lifestyle. Meanwhile, Clay's roommate, Matt, must learn to accept his homosexuality (sure, that's supposed to be a secret, but it's blatantly obvious from the get-go) and come to feelings he has for Clay.

    Sure, the conclusion is seen a mile away and writer Shiraki must have known that too, because a lot was put into the finale, including some hideous lovey-dovey relationship between the straights and the gays after a faux pas gay-bashing subplot. Weird ending, and makes you despise activists, but it's not a "straight" forward movie to begin with.

    Recommended, slightly, for the touching portrayals from the actors. Not groundbreaking, but at least its heart's in the right place.
  • Caught this movie on HERE! on Demand. What a nice surprise. Completely funny throughout, appealing characters, and interesting story. The premise revolves around a straight college guy who pretends to be gay to get closer to a girl he likes. This could have been another "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry" which I found a bit offensive and patronizing. What's so refreshing about the film is that the film has a gay sensibility but does not try to preach gay acceptance. The characters are who they are. Sam Huntington as Clay was extremely appealing in the lead role. Lots of hilarious supporting characters too including Rachel Dratch as a very drunk, very old college student, and John Goodman who nailed it as a local bartender who teaches the lead character how to "be gay." Heather Matarazzo was a bit over the top as the New York Jewish girl but funny nonetheless. It's rare to find a movie that I have never heard of, yet enjoyed so much. I think whether gay or straight, if you are looking for a fun teen comedy, you will enjoy this film.
  • I was extremely disappointed with this movie. It looked like it might be one of those unheard of movies which end up making you laugh for hours. I instead found myself groaning every scene as gay stereotypes are reinforced and the entire depiction of life in college and gay rights activists is warped so severely that it becomes unrecognizable except as a caricature to be used like a punching bag for the movie's comedy. The superficial perspective on LGBTQ life highlights this movie's writers' affinity for stereotypes that would make even a Westboro Baptist Minister blush. My gay friend commented this movie sets back the view of gay people by 15 years and I would have to agree. The IMDb title "Home of Phobia" is jarringly accurate.
  • This is one I always kind of hesitated to watch and ended up finding reasons not to sit down and just watch it. But when I finally did...wow. I wish I hadn't.

    Freshman Orientation (the better of the two titles it was best known as) is one of those movies that you watch and you can see that there were some good ideas and maybe even some good intentions in there, but literally none of them is even remotely well-realized in the resulting movie. While there may be points later where it seems to pay off, it takes too long to get there, doesn't make up for the time wasted, and really isn't worth the extremely unpleasant journey.

    It takes every opportunity to toss out offensive epithets, unfunny attempts at gutter humor, and caricatures that the main audience probably wouldn't recognize. If you do recognize the characters they're supposed to be...you'll be offended at how poorly they're done. There's so much comedic potential here, it's just never brought to a point where it's funny. It could have been a fantastic satire and commentary on these types of people we all know and have met, but it failed in every respect.

    And while I'm not saying low-brow gutter jokes are inappropriate -- college frat settings are perfect for that -- it takes a special kind of failure to fail at that kind of humor. How can you miss on that? Gutter humor is made to amuse the lowest common denominator!

    The whole affair is so abominably poorly-done that it's really hard to figure out who you're supposed to care about, as the audience. All of the characters are horrible, stupid, or in some way completely unsympathetic. They seem to be going out of their way at every moment to be hard to like. At no point will you ever think "that character seems like somebody I'd like to be friends with" unless you are a psychopath.

    When you get down to it, perhaps the largest and greatest problem this movie suffers from is that it has no audience. If you're a fan of "fun frat" style movies, you'll have no fun at all with this movie. If you're gay or lesbian, you'll find this movie unpleasantly ugly and offensive, as well as annoyingly smug and self-satisfied, with no reason for it to be. Audiences that are here for fraternity silliness and boobs (which the film does provide) won't want to experience the piled-on homophobia and hate, and they won't recognize most of the cartoonish caricatures. Audiences familiar with the hardship of being gay and out probably won't find any entertainment in experiencing one unpleasantness after another related to it that strike a little too close to home, without any real comedy that manages to work balancing it out.

    Anyone else will find it difficult to watch, much less enjoy, a film that has zero likable characters, zero jokes that actually work, and zero fun. Please, watch something else. You will regret the time you spent in this horrible abomination that wastes what few decent actors it gets on something that I can't imagine they were too proud to put in their portfolio.
  • You know, this movie have that light comedy that I like to watch sometimes, its not that kind of movie that tries to make you laugh every time, but its still funny. The title in Spanish was translated and it means "How to seduce a girl?" I think it makes the point, but you'd better watch it. Sam Huntington its a very good actor, another movie of him that I consider a 10 its "Detroit Rock City" even if you are not a rocker you enjoy it a lot, the story is simply funny and original, as this one but you know in this case I gave to Home Of Phobia a vote of 9 that is still good. Note: If you are homophobic you better don't watch this movie
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Adam Clay (Sam Huntington) is a freshman at college whose goal is to score. His goal becomes Amanda (Kaitlin Doubleday). Amanda belongs to a wicked sorority. Her initiation task is to find a gay male and break his heart. Adam pretends he is gay to get close to Amanda. Neither knows the truth about each other.

    Adam pretending to be gay is the main humor of the film. The film had a number of humorous moments and overall I enjoyed it in spite of none of the characters being real or done particularly well, other than John Goodman playing a gay bar tender.

    A similar film is "Chicks Dig Gay Guys" although it is not one I recommend.

    Guide: F-bomb, sex, nudity (3 uncredited)
  • jfgibson7317 May 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    Freshmen Orientation is a comedy about a guy who pretends he is gay to get closer to a girl he likes. She is going out with him to fulfill a sorority pledge challenge in which inductees have to date some sort of "freak" and then dump them to purposely be hurtful. The movie tries to get political when the main character starts attending support meetings for gay and lesbian students. We see plenty of stereotypes, none more pronounced than the militant activist lesbians who are ready to rally a protest at the drop of a hat. In the end, both characters admit they were being deceitful and they end up together after a heartfelt talk on a park bench.

    It wasn't so much that the acting was terrible, it was just that the script make the actors sound bad no matter how they delivered their lines. I liked the actress who was in charge of the sorority (she played Suzane Somers in a Three's Company t.v. movie that I really liked), and I kind of liked the ex-girlfriend who was now lesbian (the only likable character in the movie). The guy playing the lead is hopeless--you just can't expect someone with that little ability to carry an entire film.

    I think most people would agree that the images of gay and lesbian students in this movie are more damaging than progressive, even though I get the sense that there might have been good intentions behind the making of the film. Even though it tries to treat some of the characters with empathy and respect (the roommate, the ex), it just doesn't work in a crude sex comedy that appears to be marketed to horny high school boys. I hated it.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The premise alone reeks of desperation: Determined college freshman Matt (a likable performance by Sam Huntington) pretends to be gay so he can score with the sweet and enticing Amanda (a charming portrayal by the fetching Kaitlin Doubleday). Sound hilarious? Well, it just ain't. Writer/director Ryan Shiraki pours on the crude and idiotic jokes about puking, farting, masturbation, and attempted date rape with an excruciatingly heavy hand, thus ensuring that said jokes elicit groans instead of laughs. Moreover, the characters are generic one-note stereotypes (snarky sorority bitch, stuck-up frat stud, abrasive lesbian, and so on) and the narrative follows a straight down the line predictable trajectory in which various folks learn the truth about themselves and become better people in the process. In addition, it's downright painful to see such talented cast members as Heather Matarazzo (saddled with an unbearably obnoxious character) and John Goodman (surprisingly bubbly and amusing as a friendly gay bartender) wasted on the sophomoric material. While this movie unfolds at a snappy enough pace and has a few moments of genuine heart, it's overall about as funny as slowly dying from colon cancer.