With Honors (1994)

Forget the ads that hint at something silly, WITH HONORS is a calm
college comedy cum drama about a homeless man (Joe Pesci) who enters the
lives of four Harvard roommates (Brendan Fraiser, Moria Kelly, Patrick
Dempsey, and Josh Hamilton).

The plot device is a 100-page thesis, lost by Monty (Fraiser) and
rescued by Simon (Pesci), a "financially challenged" individual who
lives under the college library. Simon offers a trade:  one page for one
favor.  Said favors range from a "pristine glazed donut" to a place to
stay for the winter. In comes the bum, out comes astonishment (from
Monty's roomies)n and everyone ends up with a squishy life-lesson for
their troubles.

William Mastrosimone's dialogue is rather ripe, but director Alek
Keshishian (TRUTH OR DARE) keep a tight reign on both the tone and
Pesci. The diminutive Oscar-winner doesn't have much room to expand,
much less scene-steal, and that's probably the point. At least up until
a cornball ending which reunites the bum with his son.  Puh-lease.

Gore Vidal is a stitch as a Monty's mentor.  Sample dialogue: "I don't
agree with what your brain has produced."

BOTTOM LINE:  Pleasing alternative to the abandon-hope-all-ye-under-30
outlook as portrayed in REALITY BITES.

Grade: C+

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