Entertainment Movies

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Art of love in college

Gavin Burke

liberal arts

(12A, general release, 97 minutes)

Director: John Radnor Stars: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen Allison Janney, Zac Efron


Liberal Arts is a nice movie. The nice story is played out by nice characters who say nice things (except Allison Janney, but more of that later). Josh Radnor (How I Met Your Mother) directs, writes, produces and stars in this nice but rather toothless romantic drama.

Radnor is Jesse, a 35-year-old bookish New Yorker who never got over college, so when he's invited back to his alma mater to attend the retirement party of his favourite professor, he jumps at the chance.

Wandering about campus, he's introduced to 19-year-old student Zibby (Olsen), a mature sort who doesn't truck with the 'boys' in her classes.

A platonic relationship based on classical music, books and letter writing grows into something more, but Jesse, wary of the age difference, is reluctant to take things further.

Giving Zibby up, however, means giving up an excuse to hang about in college.

Littered with characters who like to talk about themselves, Radnor's self-indulgent dialogue refuses to allow anyone to say something nasty; it's left to Janney's cynical romantics professor to get ugly, but she's not used enough.

Flaws and all, however, Liberal Arts is amiable enough to carry you through its more plodding moments.

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