PCU (film)

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For other meanings, see PCU (disambiguation).
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Hart Bochner
Produced by Paul Schiff
Written by Adam Leff
Zak Penn
Starring Chris Young
Jeremy Piven
David Spade
Jon Favreau
Music by Steve Vai
Cinematography Reynaldo Villalobos
Edited by Nicholas C. Smith
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s)
  • April 29, 1994 (1994-04-29)
Running time 79 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $8 million[1]
Box office $4,330,020[2]

PCU is a 1994 American comedy film written by Adam Leff and Zak Penn and directed by Hart Bochner about college life at the fictional Port Chester University, and represents "an exaggerated view of contemporary college life...."[3] The film is based on the experiences of Leff and Penn at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.[4]


The story follows preppy pre-freshman (pre-frosh) Tom Lawrence at Port Chester University, a college where fraternities have been outlawed and political correctness is rampant on campus. During his visit, Tom manages to make enemies with nearly every group of students on campus. Getting caught in an infamous "meat tossing incident" (where tubs of raw meat were dropped on a group of animal rights protesters) angers the "cause-heads" (the name given to a group of students who jump from cause to cause protesting), and while taking a short cut through the computer lab, he trips over the power cords and accidentally crashes all the computers, angering all the people working on their thesis papers.

During his visit, Tom also gets in the middle of the war between "The Pit" and "Balls and Shaft", two rival groups. The latter group (officially known as "The Order of Balls and Shaft") is a parody of the Skull and Bones secret society and conservative fraternities in general. Among its members is Rand McPherson, who, with the other Balls and Shaft members, want the outlawed Greek system to return. Meanwhile, members of "The Pit", a party-frat which split from Balls and Shaft years ago currently led by James "Droz" Andrews and living in the dilapidated former Balls and Shaft frat house (the eponymous "Pit") just want everyone to get along. The film is in part about the battle between Droz and Rand.

Besides Balls and Shaft, the other great nemeses of The Pit are a radical feminist group on campus known as the Womynists, and the college president, Ms. Garcia-Thompson, who is obsessed with enforcing "sensitivity awareness" and multiculturalism to the point where she proposes that Bisexual Asian Studies should have its own building (ousting either mathematics or hockey). The Womynists' entire world view revolves around a paranoia about rape culture and all things phallic, and they are known to hold protests at parties chanting "hey hey, ho ho, this penis party's got to go!" Ms. Garcia-Thompson conspires with Balls and Shaft to get The Pit, their mutual nemesis, kicked off campus, giving Rand control of the house.

The Pit responds by throwing a party to raise funds to pay off their debts and keep their house. The Womynists take offense to The Pit's flyers advertising the party, and hold a protest outside. The party at first appears to be a failure. However, a series of unlikely events results in George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic performing at the party. Students begin streaming in and the party successfully raises the funds to keep the house.

After Garcia-Thompson decides to throw The Pit off campus anyway, using the history of complaints against The Pit as her reason, the members of The Pit plot their ultimate revenge at an alumni gathering the next day. They succeed in provoking the other students into an impromptu protest (ironically using the collective chant "We're not gonna protest"), giving the Board of Trustees (who secretly hate Garcia-Thompson) the opportunity to fire her due to her inability to control the student body. Rand explosively rants to Andrews his contempt for every group with a cause, unaware Andrews is armed with the podium microphone and is broadcasting his words to everyone.

The film ends showing Tom heading home, having decided to commit to going to PCU. As he sits on the bus, he sees Rand, who is now in Tom's position at the beginning of the film: being chased by the students across campus.



Principal photography took place almost entirely in and around Toronto with the University of Toronto serving as Port Chester University. Some limited second unit shots were shot on the Wesleyan campus.[5]

Jeremy Piven complains in the DVD audio commentary that actors were not allowed to improvise at all. He was able to include some limited improvisation by appealing to the writers who claimed the lines were theirs.[4]

Production schedules were challenged when Piven, who is active in anti-malaria charities, contracted malaria on a trip to Guatemala which affected him while filming.[6]


The film received mixed reviews, currently holding a 47% on Rotten Tomatoes.[7] Roger Ebert said the film "begins with a fantastic premise, but immediately loses faith in it."[8] Nonetheless, it has also been ranked among the ten best college movies.[9]

With a budget of $8 million, it grossed $2,129,483 on opening weekend contributing to a final domestic total of $4,330,020.[2]


  1. ^ "IMDb, PCU". Amazon.com. Retrieved 27 April 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "PCU (1994)". Box Office Mojo. May 24, 1994. Retrieved April 20, 2011. 
  3. ^ "PCU: Movie Info". Mutantreviewers.com. Retrieved 2011-04-20. 
  4. ^ a b DVD Director's commentary
  5. ^ PCU Filming Locations
  6. ^ Jeremy Piven Bio
  7. ^ PCU at Rotten Tomatoes
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (April 29, 1994). "PCU". RogerEbert.com. 
  9. ^ The GREATEST College Movies (VIDEO). Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved on October 17, 2011.

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