Harvard Man | Chicago Reader

Harvard Man

Writer-director James Toback, a Harvard man himself, follows up his indie success Black and White with a more ramshackle assemblage of the same materials: Ivy League basketball player, blond academic girlfriend, Italian-American mobsters, banter about African-American stereotypes, J.S. Bach on the sound track, and frequent threesomes. A Harvard philosophy major and point guard (Adrian Grenier) throws a game to Dartmouth and collects $100,000 from a Boston mobster to help his folks back in Kansas rebuild their house after a tornado; the ensuing vortex of events includes a 15,000-microgram LSD trip, a pair of FBI agents getting it on with a philosophy professor, and a lot of big talk about “annihilating dread.” The film suffers from clunky smart-aleck dialogue and an overabundance of jump cuts and crane shots, and despite its libertine air, Toback repeatedly cautions that acid is a fast track to insanity, especially in combination with Heidegger and Wittgenstein. With Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, Eric Stoltz, and Ray Allen. 100 min.

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