'Tanner Hall' is exactly the sort of film you think of when you hear the words "coming-of-age." It's a sterile look at four girls on the cusp of adulthood who attend an all-girls boarding school in New England. The setting is replete with colourful foliage and plenty of stone erections, while the girls each embody very identifiable types: the Lolita (Georgia King), the bad girl (Brie Larson), the lesbian (Amy Ferguson) and the pretty little bookworm (Rooney Mara) who leads them. It's a derivative piece of cotton candy, which attempts to mate 'The Virgin Suicides' with 'Dead Poets Society,' but has neither the spark nor wit to pull it off.
Thank goodness for Chris Kattan and Amy Sedaris. The comedians stick out like sore thumbs in this relatively staid picture, and virtually save every scene in which they appear. 'Strangers With Candy' alum Sedaris plays batty Mrs. Middlewood, the dorm mother who can't seem to get her husband to sleep with her anymore. Kattan (best known for his stint on 'Saturday Night Live') plays the milquetoasty Mr. Middlewood, who suddenly finds himself lusting after the aforementioned Lolita.