Written by Brent Goldberg, David Wagner
Directed by Walt Becker

Running Time: 1:32

Rated R
for strong sexual content, gross humor, language and some drug content.

Ryan Reynolds
as Van Wilder

Tara Reid
as Gwen

Kal Penn
as Taj

Daniel Cosgrove
as Richard Bagg

Teck Holmes
as Hutch

Goldmember (very rare)
Goldmember (very rare)


Minority Report (Double Sided)
Minority Report (Double Sided)

National Lampoon's Van Wilder was a typical, low-brow, gross-out college comedy that offered little new in the genre. It survived thanks to a winning performance from Ryan Reynolds and his supporting cast, save for Tara Reid who appeared to be sleepwalking through her role as 'the girl'.

Ryan Reynolds plays Van Wilder, a 7th year student at fictional Coolidge College (school nickname: Chickadees). He is the most popular student ever, so popular in fact people line up to be his assistant. This semester his assistant is a young Indian transfer student by the oh-so-original name of Taj Mahal (Kal Penn). A young writer with the student newspaper named Gwen (Tara Reid) has been assigned to write a story on the life of Van. When Van's father finds out that his son is still in school, he cuts off all funds and forced Van to find another way to make money. Which he does with ease. At the same time he's falling for Gwen, but her boyfriend, med-student Rich (Daniel Cosgrove), is rather annoyed and tries to make Van look like a fool. So of course Van and Gwen fall for each other, Rich gets his come-uppance, Taj finds the woman he's looking for, and everyone ends up happy (except of course for Rich).

There was nothing new in Van Wilder. The story has been done before, the subplots have been done before, everything has been done before. Some of the gross-out humour went into Tom Green territory, especially one scene involving a dog and some pastries (one of those so nasty you want to look away but have to see what happens next scenes). The movie had some funny scenes, but wasn't consistent. The problem with most movies like this is they tend to try and add some serious or romantic moments that inevitably ruin the pace of the film. On the other hand, movies like American Pie and its sequel did a great job by making the movie very funny and adding small spurts of seriousness, but nothing that took away from the rest of the movie.

Ryan Reynolds was the savior of the film. He brought a tremendous energy to the film, and I found him to be quite likeable. He seemed to realize the silliness of the film, and just played along with it instead of taking himself too seriously. Kal Penn (who I have to admit is a friend of mine) did a great job as Taj Mahal, the sexually repressed transfer student. I didn't really care for Tara Reid though. She seemed to just be along for the ride. Her character wasn't of course the deepest character the film world has ever seen, but her performance had this 'I'm doing this for the paycheck' quality to it. As the only 'name' star in the film she should have brought more to the table. She really needs to start taking different roles if she wants to go anywhere in this business.

So overall Van Wilder was a little less than a so-so film. The males of the film held up well, but the female lead was disappointing. The random females in the film however were very nice to look at and my boy Kal got to play slip-and-slide on a naked one so good for him. The movie had some entertaining moments, a lot of gross-out moments, but nothing to really hang its hat on. A decent late night rental if nothing else.

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reviewed 03/31/02

© 2002 Wolfpack Productions

Wolfpack Productions