National Lampoon Presents Dorm Daze (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski) and Tuna

Scoop's notes

also called: National Lampoon's Dorm Daze

It's hard to believe that the epithet once used to describe Animal House and Vacation now precedes terms like "dorm daze." Of course, language changes over time. One hundred years ago, the sentence "I am anxious" pretty much always meant "I am filled with anxiety." In common modern usage, it can still mean that, but people use it most often to mean "I am eager." Back around Shakespeare's time, when the National Lampoon magazine featured Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, and Michael O'Donoghue, the term "National Lampoon" meant "really funny, and even when we miss the mark, we're still edgy and much smarter than you guys."

Over the years the meaning has changed to "sucky."

In diametric opposition to those old issues of the Lampoon magazine, this film is completely dumb and predictable, and totally lacking in edge. It's basically an old-fashioned 90 minute sitcom, very similar to an old episode of I Love Lucy, except with a more modern sensibility about sex and nudity. If your idea of great, hard-hitting comedy entertainment is a rerun of Three's Company, this film is perfect for you.

  • Two women named Monique are coming to the dorm. One is a hooker, one is a French exchange student. Needless to say, various people in the dorms hear about their arrivals, and get them confused. As an example of the brilliant wit, one of the students buys a large French sausage for the exchange student. He asks the wrong Monique if she would like to eat his sausage, and she's more than willing to oblige. She does want to get paid, of course, and the guy is flabbergasted, since he didn't realize that it is customary to pay French people to eat.

  • There are two identical purses. One belongs to some evildoer and is filled with illegal money. One belongs to a freshman. I guess I don't need to explain how this one works out.

  • Two students are in a play. They rehearse in a room together. Some other students overhear from the other side of the door, and think it is real. (I think Lucy and Desi must have done this one.)

  • Several students can't tell someone else how they feel. They all decide to write love notes. The notes all get swapped around. The wrong people read them, and think the wrong people wrote them. People assume straight people are gay, and vice-versa.

  • People come in and out of dorm room doors constantly, just missing people they are looking for, or people that are looking for them.

It basically plays out like a French or English mistaken identity farce from the late 17th or early 18th century, relocated to a college dorm at Christmas break 2003. It's a low budget production, and there is basically one set - a corridor and the rooms off that corridor. Sometimes the action moves up or down a floor, but it still looks like the same basic set. In addition to being so contrived and so low in production values, it's cheesy, it's totally predictable, and the jokes are weak. The failure of the humor is not offset by sympathetic characters or situations. The characters are not very interesting, the actors do not bring them to life, and their predicaments are not involving.

That doesn't leave much for the positive side of the ledger, does it?

I usually get a kick out of this kind of sophomoric student-oriented film, so I had some tolerance for its flaws, but even I was only hanging in there because I was hoping it would get better, and it never did. Despite my enjoyment of the genre, I was wishing I hadn't wasted my time on it. I think most of you would find it just about unwatchable.


DVD info from Amazon

  • audition footage of Katie Lohman topless.

  • gag reel

  • deleted scenes

  • full-length audio commentary by the producer-director-editor team

  • featurette: "National Lampoon's Master Debaters"

  • unrated version of the film


  • Katie Lohmann. Without her, the film was virtually nudity-free. The first cut needed spicing up, so Katie's ex-bunnymate breasts were cobbled into a completely irrelevant dream sequence.

  • Boti Bliss. That is really Boti in the bra, but she did not provide the bare breast close-up. She had a strict anti-nudity clause in her contract. The faceless bare breasts belong to a woman named Natalie Abramov.


Tuna's notes

Dorm Daze (2003) is billed as a campus comedy in the tradition of Animal House. It is anything but. It supposedly takes place in a co-ed dorm just before Christmas break, but most of the film was shot in a studio, with outside visuals done near the San Diego Zoo.

The title, if looked at properly, is a clue. Dorms are for sleeping, and many viewers will do that. The viewers not sleeping will indeed be dazed - by the stupidity and predictability of the plot. It starts out lame, predictable and unfunny, and goes downhill from there. The writers went to great lengths to set up preposterous coincidences and then delivered punch lines which were not worth the time required to set them up.

The good news:

  • the DVD also included deleted scenes.

The bad news:

  • they didn't delete the other 97 minutes.

The really bad news:

  • they are planning a sequel.

The Critics Vote ...

  • No major reviews online.

The People Vote ...

The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a D+ (both reviewers). Scoop said, "Somehow I managed to get through it without the fast forward, so I really couldn't rate it any lower, but I don't recommend it even if it is your kind of movie." Tuna commented, "Unlike Scoopy, who managed to sit through the entire film, I had to do something interesting every few minutes and pause the film to even get through it."

Return to the Movie House home page