Film / PCU

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Flunk 'em if they can't take a joke.

A 1994 college comedy film that could be described as Animal House meets the clashing of right-wing and left-wing politics of The '90s.

Tom (Chris Young) is a pre-freshman having a visit to Port Chester University before he attends it properly. Hilarity Ensues as he manages to piss off half the campus, with his only safety between two groups, which themselves hate each other: the groups are The Pit, a group led by James "Droz" Andrews (Jeremy Piven) who just want to goof around (and to get around the ban, it doesn't call itself a fraternity); and Balls and Shaft, a right-wing fraternity that went underground, headed by Rand McPherson (David Spade). Both groups were spun off from Psi Kappa Mu after fraternities were banned from the school in the late 1960s.

However, Balls and Shaft has the allegiance of the left-wing school president, at least in the sense of both hating The Pit. And they have a good plan on getting rid of it.

Includes a special appearance by funk legend George Clinton.

Not to be confused with Pawtucket Credit Union.

Provides Examples of:

  • Animal Wrongs Group: Moonbeam and her crowd, the aptly-named "Causeheads."
    Droz: They find a Cause and they stick with it. (Beat) For about a week.
  • As Himself: George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic.
  • Batman Gambit / Xanatos Gambit: The plan to get rid of The Pit was to slap them with all the unpaid bills for their building and anticipating that Droz would suggest a wild party to raise the money. This would cause loads of complaints from the PC students, thus giving enough reason to shut down The Pit even if the money was raised in time. It's the former for being based on what The Pit residents would do and the latter for benefiting whether they did it or not.
    • Later Droz pulls a Batman Gambit of his own, anticipating he could get the student body to rally to him, thus getting the president fired for failing to handle the situation.
  • Brown Note: What "Afternoon Delight" is treated as. It leads people to jumping off the balcony to escape it.
  • Camp Gay: While the student body is trying to find Tom, several members discuss things he's doing wrong. An Afrocentrist says he was recruiting for the CIA. Moonbeam said he injected the thrown meat with hormones. A gay student says he... wore brown shoes with a blue blazer.
  • Conflicting Loyalty: Samantha, Droz's girlfriend, is a member of the Womynists, but it's shown that she still has feelings for him, despite the other Womynist members keeping her away from him.
  • Dean Bitterman: Ms. Garcia-Thompson. Not only does she micromanage everything with the school, but she's also pushing a "cultural sensitivity" agenda that borders on extremism (she discusses giving an entire building to the "Department of Bisexual Asian Studies." But, who goes? The Math Department or the Hockey team?). Her extremism is to the point that her bosses are looking for an excuse to get rid of her.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Could stand for "Port Chester University" or "Politically Correct University".
  • Enemy Mine/Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Rand and the dean hate each other's guts, but are only united in their hatred of The Pit.
  • Everyone Chasing You: Tom halfway through the movie, and Rand at the end. Tom even exploits this to get enough people to come to the party.
  • Evil Plan: The Dean wants to get rid of the Pit but it's a means to an end. For others, it's an end in and of itself.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Tom just happens to overhear the university's board members complaining about Dean Garcia-Thompson, which gives Droz and The Pit crew the idea of using a large protest at the dean's speech to give those board members the excuse they need.
  • Expy: The "Balls and Shaft" underground fraternity, which is a more rude variation on the "Skull and Bones" fraternity that's (in)famously tied to a number of Presidents and political leaders.
    • According to Adam Leff and Zak Penn, the writers of the film, The Pit was based on the Eclectic Society from Wesleyan University, in which they were hangers-on of the group.
    • Port Chester University itself was based on Wesleyan University, which is sometimes known as "Diversity University"; parts of the film was shot there.
  • Freudian Excuse: Played With. While it's not made clear if Rand was any less of a Jerk Ass before he roomed with Droz, it's shown in a flashback that Droz was a pretty horrible room mate.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "PCU" stands for both Port Chester University and Politically Correct University.
  • Groin Attack: During the protest at the Bicentennial, Katy attacks Balls and Shaft member Bantam by hitting him in the groin with the handle of her sign.
    Katy: Here's to Balls... and Shaft!
  • Hope Spot: The end of the party, where even the "Caine–Hackman Theory" was proven.
  • Hypocritical Humor: The last student protest in the film: WE'RE NOT GONNA PROTEST!
  • I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Samantha's pet name for Droz's penis is "Mr. Pokey".
  • Initiation Ceremony: Droz and The Pit were about to give Tom one for saving their house, but eventually, it didn't take place after Tom's bus arrives.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Droz after getting in trouble for throwing "a hundred pounds of meat at a peaceful vegan protest."
    Droz: Oh, come on! That was way more than a hundred pounds!
  • Is This Thing Still On?: When Rand starts attacking the dean for getting fired (and ruining his hopes of getting his fraternity house back) he starts ranting about all the unwashed heathens she'd allowed to take over the campus. The Pit had wisely lined up a set of live microphones by that time so that Rand's words are heard by the entire campus body (including the Cause-Heads, the Womynists, the Afrocentrists, and Jerrytown)... who promptly chase after him in a bigger mob than the one that chased Tom throughout the movie.
  • Kafka Komedy: Every single thing Luke does throughout the film manages to piss off some group within the university in one way or another that ends end up with them chasing him as an irate mob... pretty much everybody except The Pit (which are friendly) and the Balls and Shaft (who he finds scary and annoying).
  • Malcolm Xerox: The Afrocentrists.
  • Meaningful Name: Rand's name is an obvious reference to Ayn Rand, a conservative icon.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Droz is introduced waking up from a bender and repeatedly screaming, "Coffee!"
  • Nerd: The Computer Geek, as well as those working on their theses.
  • The '90s
  • One Dave Limit: Doomed. There are two Daves, and they're both (mostly) useless.
  • A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: The Pit invokes this trope by advertising the party with the just-decided-on name of their band: "Everyone Gets Laid". It at least sent the freshmen running there.
  • Plot Hole: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic play a huge set with all their instruments and equipment yet somehow manage to not blow the dodgy fuses of the Pit.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad / Strawman Political: Both tropes are spoofed.
  • Politically Correct Villain: Ms. Garcia-Thompson. The crux of the plot lies in the fact she has used Political Correctness Gone Mad to almost drive the campus' effectiveness as a an actual place for education into the ground.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Pit, an ethnically/gender-mixed group united under the banner of rocking out and coasting through college.
  • Renegade Splinter Faction: Balls and Shaft was this to Psi Kappa Mu, after the latter was closed due to fraternities being banned.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Animal House.
  • The Stoner: Jerrytown, a hippie-based group. They even named the team's dog Blotter.
  • Straw Feminist: The "Womynists", of which Samantha, Droz's girlfriend, is a member of.
    Tom: Those women?
    Droz: Those are not women, Tom. Those are "Womynists".
  • Strawman U: The titular college.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: Droz locks most of the staff in a room with "Afternoon Delight" playing. After a while, they start pounding on the door, and then break windows to escape.
  • Vandalism Backfire: The crew from the Pit trash what they believe to be Rand's cherry-red classic sports car. Turns out they got the wrong one. The film ends with Samantha, Droz's love interest, mentioning that she can drive on their date, since she's borrowed her grandmother's classic car of the same kind for the weekend...

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/PCU