Portia Nathan (Tina Fey) is an Admissions officer at Princeton, fending off inappropriate requests for favouritism and trying to identify the very best candidates to take each year to maintain the University’s prestige at the very top (or, as Princeton is listed as second-most prestigious at the time of film, regain top) of the educational establishment in the US.
Her boss, Clarence (Wallace Shawn), is shortly to retire and Portia is in a no-holds-barred struggle with fellow admissions administrator Corinne (Gloria Reuben) for his job. She is also in a relationship with an English professor, Mark (Michael Sheen) which is going nowhere and seems stale, and her relationship with her mother (Lily Tomlin) would be non-existent were it not for the hostility within it.
Into this world comes a former classmate John Pressman (Paul Rudd), who travels the world with his adopted son Nelson (Travaris Meeks-Spears), doing good works and currently helping teach at a start-up school. He has identified a prodigy, Jeremiah (Nat Wolff) who, he is convinced, would thrive at Princeton but whose CV is not sufficiently high-powered to gain admission in the first place.
This is another ‘join-the-dots’ movie, whose plot has been written from a template common to nearly all modern rom-coms. It’s pleasant enough, with the characters generally being likeable and the themes discussed being important ones (family, responsibility, integrity and elitism) but it doesn’t go very deep into them and there are some unconvincing coincidences as plot contrivance (though there are a few genuine curveballs amongst them).
Good, not great.