Taj Mahal Badalandabad leaves Coolidge College behind for the halls of Camford University in England, where he looks to continue his education, and teach an uptight student how to make the most out of her academic career.
While visiting his hometown during Christmas, a man comes face-to-face with his old high school crush whom he was best friends with -- a woman whose rejection of him turned him into a ferocious womanizer.
After being mistaken for terrorists and thrown into Guantánamo Bay, stoners Harold and Kumar escape and return to the U.S., where they proceed to flee across the country with federal agents in hot pursuit.
In certain circles, Van Wilder is a living legend at Coolidge College, where he's been a student now for seven years, not yet having completed his degree requirements. Despite being bright, he never attends classes anymore, instead hosting parties, imparting his brand of wisdom to his adoring fans, hosting school organization fundraisers, and rallying the college spirit among the student body. Conversely, Van loves his Coolidge life. In his antics, he has a 2ic in Hutch, and always hires a personal assistant, this year's being a South Asian transfer student named Taj, who wants to learn from the best, namely Van. Van's college life is threatened when his wealthy neglectful father only now learns that Van is still in school, Wilder Sr. who has been paying his way all this time. As such, Wilder Sr. pulls the plug on that subsidy, meaning that Van has to figure out a way to pay for his Coolidge life. Because of his living legend status, Van becomes the subject of a series of articles by ... Written by
National Lampoon's Van Wilder is an aggressively funny movie,unashamed by its bad taste.
What this movie has and other movies lack are characters you admire and care about. The movie never succumbs to sentimentality, thankfully, and it keeps a high level of cheerfulness and humor through the entire running time. This is a movie that wants to party and have fun, where characters are in high spirits and at times a little inebriated. This is the movie that will put the National Lampoon franchise back into respectability. Not only is this movie gut-bustingly funny if you can get past the crude visual puns like a pit-bull with what looks like a ten-pound scrotum attachment, and a crotch-enhancer pump that is mistaken for a bong this transcendent comedy of gross manners is most affecting because it's incredibly well-made. Most college campus comedies are cheap in production value and clumsily structured. Van Wilder is exceedingly well-paced and smartly written, by writers Brent Goldberg and David T. Wagner (their love for Ferris Bueller is apparent) who know how to set up not only a joke but sequences of offhand slapstick that are irrepressibly absurd. Director Walter Becker (creator of the ingenious short-film Saving Ryan's Privates) handles the irreverent and random acts of background physical comedy with ease and panache.
The campus wild man is fittingly known as Van Wilder (played by Ryan Reynolds). Van Wilder is a guy that has friends from everywhere, from the jocks to the nerds. Reynolds finds a precarious balance between recklessness and cheerful insanity, which is crucial because he turns acts of humanitarian philanthropy into casual and spontaneous gestures without giving second thought. No job is ever too big for the man, whether it is becoming the de-facto basketball coach that inspires the school's team to win or setting up a rockin' party for the geekiest fraternity on campus. Van Wilder has enthusiastic support from everyone but his burned-out workaholic father (played by Tim Matheson, once the wild man in National Lampoon's Animal House) who decides after seven years of his son's enrollment to stop tuition payment.
Van Wilder becomes the subject of a school newspaper editorial and Tara Reid plays the snobby, uptight reporter Gwen whose ties belong to frat boy Richard Bagg (Daniel Cosgrove), who conducts hazing rituals that are crueler than anything since Animal House. When Gwen tries to get the naked truth from Van Wilder, she mostly just finds Van Wilder naked. But it's the smart rapport that develops between them that allows Van Wilder to strip Gwen's inhibitions, to let her walk on the wild side. In the background, a turf war erupts between Van Wilder and Richard.
The plotting is shameless in its methods of revenge. There are innocent people involved in the mayhem, including a scene where pre-pubescent boys raid one of Van Wilder's parties and end up barfing out of a school bus (but hey, these young boys had the time of their life until then). Richard's fraternity brothers are sent a basket full of éclairs stuffed with juices from a particular dormitory pet. In a knock-off homage to Dumb and Dumber, a character digests a bottle of colon blow right before he is to take a final exam.
The movie rarely takes a breath. It does settle for easy chuckles but goes for the comic gold, pushing past the ribbon of where comedy usually wears out in exhaust. Not every joke works, but you admire the efforts that the filmmakers went to in order to make you laugh. A virgin's first encounter with a girl that culminates in a massage oil rubdown gets more than messy and squanders too much, thus not earning any laughs. A scene where Van Wilder has to charm a raggedy and prunish administrator gets frighteningly explicit and goes on maybe one shot too many. But Van Wilder is always the man of the moment. One of the dorky characters goes to Van Wilder to ask him how to `muff dive.' Ultimately, Van Wilder is king and his rebel-bent philosophy is trippingly funny. At the end, you won't be able to remember all the funny scenes because there are just too many of them.
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