Van Wilder

Bomb Rating: 

Holy "National Lampoon's Dad's Week Off," is this "organization" still making movies and if so, why? Is there even a real "National Lampoon" anymore? Just to give you an idea of what to expect from this film, here's a list of a few of "National Lampoon's" most recent efforts: "National Lampoon's The Don's Analyst," "National Lampoon's Senior Trip," "National Lampoon's Favorite Deadly Sins," and "National Lampoon's Attack of the 5 ft. 2 Women." These are actual films. Have you heard of any of them? There's a reason for that. These are the tapes the clerks at Blockbuster use as pucks during off-hours games of floor hockey.

Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is that college guy who's on the seven year plan and enjoying every minute of it. Unfortunately, his dad, Vance Sr. (Tim Matheson), finally realizes his boy has been in school just short of forever and he cuts off Van's tuition, forcing the lazy Van to figure out how to pay. Van's solution is to start planning parties for the school's less socially fortunate. He hires an assistant, Taj (Kal Penn), who has a nice Indian accent, which means that he sounds really funny in the scene where he lists every euphemism for oral sex known to man. Let's face it: To American audiences, pretty much everything Indians say sounds funny except when it includes the words "nuke Pakistan." If only they'd refer to nuking Pakistan as "lubing the fleshy taco," we Americans could happily laugh our way right into World War 3.

Van's love interest is Gwen (Tara Reid), who's a serious journalism student forced to write a story on the self-absorbed Van. Anybody else notice that Tara Reid looks like she got trapped in a tanning booth for an extra hour? (The explanation? The attendants got sick of being tipped with "Josie and the Pussycats" schwag. Felt cat ears just don't pay the bills in Los Angeles these days.) Gwen is sleeping with a pre-med fraternity guy who talks like he's reading from an anatomy book. While it's clear that a vibrator has more personality than this guy and is infinitely more pleasurable, Gwen pronates herself for him with virtually no concept that there could be something better. So much for director Walt Becker's concept of the strong female character.

Naturally, at the end Van gets the girl, but since she's given the choice between him and Dr. Pencil Dick, this is no real surprise. Maybe the people at "National Lampoon" can save themselves some time on their next feature film. Here's my suggestion for the next endeavor: "National Lampoon's Straight to Video," though "Van Wilder" may end up qualifying.

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