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Tenure is a 2009 American comedy film written and directed by Mike Million and starring Luke Wilson, David Koechner and Gretchen Mol. The film was produced by Paul Schiff and released by Blowtorch Entertainment as their first original production.

Tenure poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byMike Million
Produced byJared Ian Goldman
Paul Schiff
Tai Duncan
Brendan McDonald
Blowtorch Entertainment
Written byMike Million
StarringLuke Wilson
David Koechner
Gretchen Mol
Music byJohn Frizzell
CinematographySteve Yedlin
Edited byTom McArdle
Distributed byBlowtorch Entertainment
Release date
  • October 2009 (2009-10) (Hamptons Film Festival)
  • February 19, 2010 (2010-02-19) (United States)
Running time
89 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$5 million

After being screened at several film festivals and independent theaters, Tenure was first released on DVD exclusively at Blockbuster Video stores on February 19, 2010.[1] A national release followed in April 2010.


Charlie Thurber (Luke Wilson) is a beleaguered English professor at fictional Grey College (a liberal arts college in Pennsylvania) who competes for tenure against an impressive new hire from Yale, Elaine Grasso (Gretchen Mol). Jay Hadley (David Koechner) is an anthropology professor at Grey who tries to convince Thurber to sabotage Grasso’s career – while being simultaneously obsessed with trying to prove the authenticity of Bigfoot. Thurber's articles are rejected by a series of academic journals and he worries about becoming a victim of the "publish or perish" pressures of professorship. And despite competing for the same job, Thurber and Grasso begin developing a friendship after she flounders as a classroom teacher and asks him for advice.

Meanwhile, Thurber struggles with a series of personal problems: his sister pesters him for money to pay for their father's retirement home; a smitten female student is aggressively flirtatious; and rather than admit he's single, Thurber hires a woman of questionable sanity to act as his girlfriend for a dinner with Grasso and her snobbish boyfriend.

Thurber's tenure review with college officials seems to be a disaster until the dean casts a tie-breaking vote, noting that Thurber's students gave him exemplary reviews and clearly adore him. Thurber is offered probational tenure, with the caveat that his classroom teaching will be severely reduced so that he can devote more time to publishing in respectable academic outlets.

The film concludes with Thurber inviting his ailing father to move in with him, Grasso dumping her boyfriend and hinting that she would like to pursue a relationship with Thurber, and Thurber quitting Grey College to teach at a high school so that he can remain in the classroom with students.



Tenure was filmed using locations in Pennsylvania, including: Bryn Mawr College, Lower Merion High School, Rosemont College (including the historic Joseph Sinnott Mansion), and the Garrett Hill section of Radnor Township. The film was shot in 25 days on a budget of $5 million.[2]


Belinda Acosta, film critic at The Austin Chronicle, gave the film a favorable review, writing, "Wilson’s performance is as warm as a cardigan sweater. So, when a perky new hire (Gretchen Mol) threatens Charlie’s already shaky position, instead of swerving into high anxiety Wilson plays it close to the chest... The even-handedness of the film (directed by Mike Million) is part of its charm. And while it’s clear what’s coming long before the end of the film, the journey to the obvious conclusion is no less satisfying."[3]


  1. ^ Crossman, Kevin (15 February 2010), "'Tenure' Coming to Blockbuster DVD Feb 19, Nationally in April", The Frat Pack Tribute
  2. ^ Sierra Bellow; et al. (Summer 2009), "Making Movies: The Celluloid Ringmaster; Mike Million Directs his First Feature Film", The University of Virginia Magazine
  3. ^ Acosta, Belinda. The Austin Chronicle, film review, October 28, 2009.

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