It's no secret that getting into a good college is tougher than ever, and Bartleby Gaines (Justin Long) finds that out for himself when he doesn't make the grade. Making matters worse, within his family's high-minded social circles, the high school senior is seen as a severe disappointment. Desperate to want to please his folks and remove the pressures of failure, Bartleby decides to scan the logo from one of the dozen rejections in his bedroom, make a few creative changes, and present his parents with a glorious (although phony) acceptance letter from the newly born South Harmon Institute of Technology.
Yet it will take more evidence than that to convince his suspicious father (Mark Derwin). So Bartleby calls on Sherman (Jonah Hill), one of his peers who was accepted into the real Harmon College, to build a website capable of making his dad believe the unknown school is the real deal. Of course the ruse only becomes more complex when his parents want to drop by the institution and meet the dean. Involving more college-rejected friends, including doper Glen (Adam Herschman), artsy Hands (Columbus Short), and keener Rory (Maria Thayer), along with one of the buddy's relatives (Lewis Black) to act as the institution's dean, the kids manage to fool Mr. and Mrs. Gaines.
The problem is their website fools a few others too. Soon legions of other B-grade hopefuls arrive at the hastily renovated mental hospital to seek a college education. With a bag full of $10,000 tuition checks from dozens of dumb rich kids, Bartleby and his gang of misfits eye a tempting profit within their falsehood. But when the true dean of Harmon College gets wind of what's happening, he begins his own mission to expose the scam.
Squarely aimed at a teen audience, this film promotes the idea that educational institutions are far too particular about who they accept and the programs they teach. Still, describing Bartleby's creation as a "liberal arts" college would be a gross understatement. Classes on this school's calendar include a course in cooking with illicit substances, artistic body painting, and observing girls floating in the school's swimming pool.
Along with these questionable themes, this film offers dozens of expletives and profanities, sexual comments, scenes involving drinking, references alluding to illegal drug use, and dozens of women in bikinis (which appears to be the school uniform for females). Finally, the screenwriter's attempt to bring the ending in touch with some form of reality is so implausible it inadvertently becomes the funniest aspect of the movie. Consequentially, parents are likely to find many reasons to stamp Accepted as rejected.