Harvard Man (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

Harvard Man (2002)



Critic Consensus: Harvard Man is a pretentious, incoherent mess.

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Movie Info

Director and screenwriter James Toback used his own experiences as a college student in the 1960s as the basis for this drama about a present-day student athlete who's bitten off more than he can chew. Alan Jensen (Adrian Grenier) is a college sophomore struggling to keep up with an unusually busy schedule -- while studying philosophy as a Harvard undergrad, he's also a point guard on the school's basketball team, and is juggling two girlfriends, cheerleader Cindy Bandolini (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Chesney (Joey Lauren Adams), a professor ten years his senior. As Alan tries to stay on top of his classes and keep his love life sorted out, he receives some bad news from his parents -- a tornado has devastated their home, and they need $100,000 to rebuild. Alan wants to help his parents, and as it happens, Cindy's father is a Mafia boss tied in with a number of powerful bookies. Cindy uses her family's connection to put Alan in touch with Teddy (Eric Stoltz), a bookie who's willing to give Alan $100,000 in exchange for throwing a few games and shaving some points. Cindy also uses her dad's bankroll to place a quarter-million dollar bet on the upcoming Harvard-Dartmouth game, certain Alan can ensure a predictable outcome. But when the games don't go quite the way Alan expected, despite his best worst effort, he finds himself in dutch with the Mafia, while also attracting the attention of FBI agents who've been investigating Teddy and his associates. Amidst this chaos, Alan hops a jet home to give his parents the ill-gotten $100,000, and on the flight back decides to relax mid-flight by dropping a heroic dose of LSD, which turns out not to be one of his better ideas. Harvard Man was originally intended to star Leonardo DiCaprio as Alan, but after the project was put on hold in 1994, DiCaprio rocketed to fame in Titanic, which priced himself out of the project by the time James Toback was able to return to it years later. ~ Mark Deming, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: James Toback
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 5, 2002
Cowboy Pictures - Official Site


Adrian Grenier
as Alan Jensen
Sarah Michelle Gella...
as Cindy Bandolini
Joey Lauren Adams
as Chesney Cort
Eric Stoltz
as Teddy Carter
Rebecca Gayheart
as Kelly Morgan
Gianni Russo
as Andrew Bandolini
Ray Allen
as Marcus Blake
John Neville
as Dr. Reese
Phillip Jarrett
as Coach Preston
Adam Bloch
as Kenner
Maria Ricossa
as Charlotte Jensen
Booth Savage
as Steve Jensen
Brendan Ryder
as Jonathan
Kelly Ryder
as Jonathan's Mother
Kristi Angus
as Bartender
Tara Samuel
as Waitress
Ayanna Sealey
as Coed No.1
Jamie Holmes
as Coed No.2
Al Franken
as Himself
Thomasin Frankin
as Al Frankin's Daughte...
Peter Mensah
as Cyril the Butler
Brian Schulz
as Harvard Radio Broadc...
Chris Wolfe
as Harvard Radio Broadc...
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News & Interviews for Harvard Man

Critic Reviews for Harvard Man

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (18)

Grenier is terrific, bringing an unforced, rapid-fire delivery to Toback's Heidegger- and Nietzsche-referencing dialogue.

Full Review… | October 28, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

The attempt is courageous, even if the result is wildly uneven.

Full Review… | September 5, 2002
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic

What makes the movie work is that the premise, which sounds like a comedy, is treated with the seriousness of life and death.

Full Review… | July 13, 2002
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Toback offers a complex, borderline campy, and oddly entertaining study of modern moral dilemmas.

Full Review… | July 11, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

A crisply made movie that is no more than mildly amusing.

Full Review… | July 9, 2002
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

A characteristically engorged and sloppy coming-of-age movie.

Full Review… | July 2, 2002
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Harvard Man

Not all that good. I liked the actors but the characters were not likable and I ended up not caring what happened more and more as I watched it.

Jason Spencer

Super Reviewer

SMG fans will be dissapointed with this. A very odd film each which a student gets mixed up in trying to throw a basketball game in which to make money for himself and his mobster daughter, girlfriend.

Dean King

Super Reviewer

Lots of sex, deception and an adventurous storyline. Even if you don't like the plot, which involves a manipulative FBI investigation and a points-shaving scam, you'd enjoy the hilarious 'acid trip' scenes.
Grenier, Adams and Stoltz are very convincing, yet there are a few pretentious actors who barely achieve a decent portrayal (Gayheart, Gellar, etc).
Great direction, especially surrounding the schizophrenic acts where Alan's (Grenier) mind is galloping on a triple-heavy dose of LSD.
Take my advice: Stay away from acid.

Kevin M

Super Reviewer

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