review for Dead Man on Campus on AllMovie

Dead Man on Campus (1998)
by Derek Armstrong review

The myth that a college student gets a 4.0 GPA if his roommate kills himself is so well traveled that it might as well be true, even if it isn't. In a scenario familiar to cinephiles, two movies were made on the topic in the same calendar year: The Curve, a dark-edged thriller, and this silly black comedy that considers suicidal depression a laughing matter. It's an admittedly amusing if twisted idea, which play-it-safe MTV Films gets away with by lowering the intelligence quotient to the level of a crass college satire with no message anyone could possibly take seriously. As an example of this softball approach, two of the prime candidates to kill themselves are earmarked because one listens to anguished goth music, while the other is such a fall-down drunk that his poor judgment leads to numerous near misses. Dead Man on Campus only rises above this level of insight on a couple of occasions, not enough to really recommend it. Still, it has just enough original moments that it's not a total dud either. Tom Everett Scott and Mark-Paul Gosselaar are game participants, though it's unlikely to help either of their careers, even with Gosselaar's spotty resumé. MTV Films' first venture aims right at the heart of its sister station's key demographic, and few outside of that age group are likely to get more than a few guilty chuckles out of it.