Sorority Boys

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There is so much to hate about “Sorority Boys” that I scarcely know where to begin. I’m at sixes and sevens anyway, because despite the film’s many, many flaws, I also laughed quite a bit during it. Except during the times when I was silently awestruck by its incompetence, that is.

We will tell the plot, and maybe that will help us get a grip on how to deal with the film as a whole. At some fictional college is a fraternity called Kappa Omicron Kappa, featuring slacker studs Dave (Barry Watson) and Adam (Michael Rosenbaum) and their piggish friend Doofer (Harland Williams). (You are supposed to be remembering John Belushi in “Animal House” when you think of Doofer, by the way.) All three are kicked out when president Pete (Greg Coolidge) steals the frat’s money and frames them for it. They know of a videotape that will exonerate them, but how to get back into the house to retrieve it? They elect to dress up as women and sneak in during one of the house’s many wild parties.

This already makes very little sense, of course; surely putting on a wig and some makeup will not prevent their former frat brothers from recognizing them. But somehow, they also decide they need to join a sorority. I don’t understand why this is, but it is, so we will accept it.

Delta Omicron Gamma (D.O.G.) is the only one desperate enough to take a trio as ugly as they are — they look like Teri Garr, Kirstie Alley and Kathy Griffin — which is fortunate, because their leader, Leah (Melissa Sagemiller), is very pretty (so why is she in the ugly sorority?) and Dave is attracted to her. Leah meets Dave in class and thinks he’s a jerk, but she adores “Daisy” back at the sorority house. She even starts to become a little attracted to Daisy, NEVER REALIZING she looks exactly like Dave from class.

Doofer, meanwhile, adopts the name Roberta and becomes a confidante to all the ugly and misshapen girls of D.O.G. Adam becomes Adina and becomes outraged at the way men treat women. Everyone learns a valuable lesson, I guess, and all’s well that ends well, or whatever.

It’s one thing for a comedy to be light-hearted and simple and not rely on intricate plotting. It’s quite another to be full of plot yet to have every single element of the plot run contrary to common sense, logic, reality and intelligence. Nothing that happens in this movie could or would happen in real life. It’s not like you can suspend your disbelief about the guys posing as women and living in a sorority; even if that happened in real life, what would happen from there is nothing like what happens here.

Why would the guys continue to wear their female garb outside the house? Why would Leah agree to study with Dave when she hates him? How does living in a sorority house — as opposed to, say, anywhere else in the world — help the guys get any closer to getting the video? How is it that the guys can play football without their wigs coming off, but then it just takes a simple tug to remove them when the time comes? These questions plague me, even as I’m laughing at Michael Rosenbaum.

Of the three leads, only Rosenbaum is worth watching. He has a flair for comedy and a keen sense of the absurd. He plays the role with enthusiasm and maybe even intelligence. Watson, meanwhile, is too self-serious to let himself be funny, and Williams is not half as funny as he seems to think he is.

It’s all appalling and crass and sometimes I laughed at it. I don’t know what else to say, except that if this is your kind of movie, maybe you’ll like it. Maybe.

C- (; R, some harsh profanity, a lot of nudity, abundant crude sexual humor, some brief strong sexuality.)

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