Black Friday Sale: Get 75% off a digital subscription
The Baltimore Sun

'Sorority Boys'

Times Staff Writer

The title of "Sorority Boys" pretty much does tell all. Adam (Michael Rosenbaum), the social chairman of Kappa Omicron Kappa, and his two best pals, Dave (Barry Watson) and Doofer (Harland Williams), get drummed out of their fraternity when they are falsely accused of misappropriating funds--and wind up taking refuge in drag in the sorority across the street, Delta Omicron Gamma, home to the campus' female misfits, which means girls who are rabid feminists, in some way unattractive or both. Naturally, the fraternity and the sorority are known by their obvious acronyms.

The pals' foray into drag is part of an elaborate scheme to get back in the good graces of their fraternity brothers and to expose the real thief. First-time writers Joe Jarvis and Greg Coolidge and director Wally Wolodarsky use the trio's predicament ostensibly to subject the guys to a little consciousness-raising as to the crude ways fraternity guys treat coeds. There's also some sentimental business about the friends seizing the opportunity to build the DOGs' self-esteem. This is also a lot of hooey: The makers of "Sorority Boys" have only one thing sincerely in mind, and that's to revel in as much tried-and-true frat-boy raunchiness as an R rating will bear. The result is crass but reasonably harmless, although to hear one of the guys hold forth on how much he's learned about family and loyalty in just one week living with the DOGs is enough to make a person gag.

As mushy as the film gets over the strong spirit the DOGs develop under their new pledges' tutelage, it basically exploits a group of largely ungainly young women for easy laughs. Among them, alas, is "Welcome to the Dollhouse's" talented Heather Matarazzo, here asked little more than to provide a squeaky voice and to make faces. "Sorority Boys" is best when it sticks to physical comedy.

Ungainly, however, does not apply to the sorority's president, Leah (Melissa Sagemiller), who is a very pretty and bright but humorless, doggedly politically correct blond. Even so, mutual attraction sets in between Leah and Dave's "Daisy," much to the predictable confusion of the first and the frustration of the second in the time-honored tradition of drag comedies. Meanwhile, Adam, as "Adina," is having to fend off the advances of his erstwhile Kappa Omicron Kappa little brother (Tony Denman) while attempting to get his hands on a video that will incriminate unctuous house president Spence (Brad Beyer).

The movie has the requisite abundance of gross-out humor, some of which draws some laughs. Watson, Rosenbaum and Williams are game, and costume designer Melinda Eshelman, makeup designer Tommy Cole and hair designer Donna Gilbert and their teams come up with amusing and passable drag camouflage for the guys. "Sorority Boys," however, is best left to the easily pleased.

MPAA rating: R, for crude sexual content, nudity, strong language and some drug use. Times guidelines: heavy on raunchiness.

'Sorority Boys'

Barry Watson ... Dave

Michael Rosenbaum ... Adam

Harland Williams ... Doofer

Melissa Sagemiller ... Leah

A Buena Vista Pictures release of a Touchstone Pictures presentation. Director Wally Wolodarsky. Producers Larry Brezner, Walter Hamada. Executive producer Michael Fottrell. Screenplay by Joe Jarvis & Greg Coolidge. Cinematographer Michael D. O'Shea. Editor Richard Halsey. Music Mark Mothersbaugh. Costumes Melinda Eshelman. Production designer Edward T. McAvoy. Art director Bruton Jones. Set decorator Suzette Sheets. Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes.

In general release.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun