Tenure revolves around Charlie Thurber (Luke Wilson) an insecure college professor who is up for a tenure position in his English department. Charlie has an ongoing problem getting his work published and to add a further complication, the university decides to hire another applicant, Elaine Grasso (Gretchen Mol) for the position. Through the competing for the job, Charlie begins to have feelings for Elaine. As their relationship emerges, Charlie needs to make a decision about what his passions are.
The film blends comedy and drama fairly efficiently. The comedy is hammered home with Charlie’s friend Jay (David Koechner). Whether its herbal enhancements or a fruitless pursuit of Bigfoot, no comedic stone is left unturned. The drama is left for the dark and charming Charlie Thurber. Luke Wilson’s performance is bland. He doesn’t showcase much of a range. Even after his deciding moment in the film, audiences are left feeling shortchanged. However, his comedic moments in the film are timed well and his chemistry with Koechner is undeniable.
Unfortunately, the film is submerged in mediocrity. There are glimpses of strong direction and style. Mike Million uses great landscape shots and color to gather a strong emotional setting. The struggle is the writing in the film; it leaves a considerable amount to be desired. The distinctly comedic moments in the film are clearly improvised. David Koechner and Gretchen Mol provide energetic and solid performances. The film is all too familiar with its writing approach. However, it is not a horrible way to spend an afternoon.
Tenure is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The transfer is clean with no grain or pixilation. The colors look dark and rich. The university campus looks elegant and Million took full advantage of the on location shooting. The images and colors are strong in this film, it is very well presented.
The 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound is present. All of the dialogue in the film is clear. The score that is threaded throughout the film adds a nice compliment. The sound is not groundbreaking. However, it does not distract from the film.
Deleted Scenes (2:00): A total of three deleted scenes with none of them adding any significance to the film or to character development. It was a wise move for the director to cut them from the film. Adding them to the DVD seems painfully unnecessary.
Outtakes (2:54): A typical gag reel. There are a couple of humorous David Koechner moments. Otherwise, avoid entirely.
The film dramatizes a coming of age moment for a late thirties male. If you can identify with growing insecurities and ambivalence, this is the film for you. For me, it was an enjoyable foray into familiar territory.