Harvard Man

Harvard Man

Release poster
Directed by James Toback
Produced by Daniel Bigel
Michael Mailer
Edward R. Pressman
Donald Kushner
Peter Locke
Written by James Toback
Starring Adrien Grenier
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Joey Lauren Adams
Eric Stoltz
Rebecca Gayheart
Music by Ryan Shore
Cinematography David Ferrara
Edited by Suzy Elmiger
Cowboy Pictures
Distributed by Lions Gate Entertainment
Release dates
  • May 10, 2001 (2001-05-10) (Cannes Film Festival)
  • April 12, 2002 (2002-04-12)
Running time
94 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $5.5 million[2]
Box office $56,653[3]

Harvard Man is a 2001 crime comedy-drama thriller film written and directed by James Toback, and starring Adrian Grenier, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, Eric Stoltz, and Rebecca Gayheart.


The story concerns Harvard student Alan Jensen, the point guard of the Harvard basketball team. When his parents' house is destroyed by a tornado, Alan is desperate for $100,000 to replace their home. He is approached by his girlfriend Cindy Bandolino, whose father is an organized crime boss. Cindy convinces Alan to throw a game for the money. She tells Alan that her father is behind the deal, but actually she goes to her father's associate, Teddy Carter, and Carter's assistant, Kelly Morgan for funding. What she does not know is that Carter and Morgan are undercover FBI agents.

Alan throws the game, gives his parents the money, and then undergoes a psychedelic experience after he ingests a big dose of LSD, 15,000 micrograms. There follows a long stretch of the film during which morphing special effects demonstrate Alan's altered state as he is pursued by Carter, while Cindy is collared by Morgan.

Just when it looks like a toss-up as to what will prove his downfall first, the bad trip, the FBI, or the mob, Alan's other girlfriend (who is also his philosophy lecturer), Chesney Cort (played by Adams), saves the day. Not only does she get Alan to a doctor who can bring him back to sobriety, she reveals that she is in a sexual threesome with Carter and Morgan. Once he gets some photographic evidence for blackmail, Alan is extricated from his problems.



Harvard Man had only a limited theatrical release in July 2002, and received little critical or popular acclaim, although it achieved some success when it was released on video and DVD in October of that year.

Critical reception

The film received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 33%, based on 36 reviews, with an average rating of 4.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Harvard Man is a pretentious, incoherent mess."[4] On Metacritic, which uses an average of critics' reviews, the film has a score of 49 out of 100, based on 20 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]


External links

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