National Lampoon's Van Wilder

on April 05, 2002 by Tim Cogshell
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   Odd that a movie so crude could also seem so quaint. While the comedy in "Van Wilder" tends toward the all-too-familiar territory of bodily fluids, dog scrotums and rectum jokes (lots of rectum jokes), it's also a movie that comes off pithy when compared to the sort of films from which it's derived, "Animal House" being the most obvious. Star Ryan Reynolds is best known from the semi-popular television series "Two Guys and a Girl." He was the tall blond with the great body, which he displays here with reckless abandon. He plays Van Wilder, a permanent college student who's become a legend on the campus of the nondescript university that he's been attending for nearly a decade. Van is the kind of guy who's two parts charm and one part loser. When his father (Tim Matheson--Otter from “Animal House”) realizes that his son has been in college for nine years and hasn't a single degree, he pulls the cash flow plug, setting Van's world all a-kilter.

   Gwen (Tara Reid of "Josie and the Pussycats") is a reporter for the college paper who's assigned to do a story about Van and his dilemma. As it turns out, Van is good at throwing parties, especially for geeks and nerds who'd like to change their profile. But, as Van puts it, "It's not just about the money. I take joy in helping the freaks. They're cool, in their own way." Oddly, Van turns out to be a misunderstood guy who's never felt loved anywhere except at on campus. But Gwen is able to get to the man behind the frat boy and inspire Van to actually graduate, with the entire student body coming to his aid.

   If nothing else, this a movie wherein Tara Reid plays the "smart girl"--that alone has got to be worth the price of a ticket. That and a bizarre bit involving a hooker, a bottle of massage oil and an explosion.    Starring Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Kal Penn, Kim Smith, Teck Holmes, Tim Matheson, Tom Everett Scott and Erik Estrada. Directed by Walt Becker. Written by Brent Goldberg and David Wagner. Produced by Jonathon Komack Martin and Andrew Panay. An Artisan release. Comedy. Not yet rated. Running time: 98 min.

Tags: Starring Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Kal Penn, Kim Smith, Teck Holmes, Tim Matheson, Tom Everett Scott, Erik Estrada. Directed by Walt Becker. Written by Brent Goldberg and David Wagner, Produced by Jonathon Komack Martin, Andrew Panay, Artisan, Comedy
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