Coming off the virtually plotless HOT WATER, Harold Lloyd followed with a pet project he'd been considering for years, and one that was almost completely dependent on story. THE FRESHMAN is about a young boy (Harold) who tries to be so popular at college, he becomes the college joke, a situation he is blissfully unaware of through most of the film. Although the movie has several slapstick setpieces, it lacks the big visual chases one usually finds in a Lloyd picture. Instead, THE FRESHMAN depends on mild gags, a good story and Lloyd's natural appeal, as well as the appeal of the rest of the cast, especially Jobyna Ralston.
A good, solid silent comedy, and one of Lloyd's most popular, THE FRESHMAN still works with an audience, although it lacks the thrills and excitement of some of his other most famous films. Like almost every other Lloyd film, its most appealing aspect is that it transports you to a time and place long ago, a simpler world where two people could "meet cute" twice in the same day, and where winning the big football game could be the answer to all your problems. - JB