The college party film is one of the most familiar of films to anyone who has watched teen comedies. Perhaps the most famous of the line would be Animal House: where the late John Belushi had audiences in stitches with the antics of the Delta House and the misfits within. Recently audiences have flocked to films such as Road Trip, and the American Pie series have packed theaters the world over so it was no surprise when the folks who made Animal House, National Lampoon, decided to get in on the craze and give us a college romp for the new millennium.
Enter Van Wilder, the story of a mans quest to find love, direction, and a good time. Ryan Reynolds plays the title character, a big man on campus who is always ready to offer help, advice, and friendship to those who need him. Naturally he is loved by all, well that is all except the staff whose parking space he takes on a regular basis and who become the butt of some of his sprinkler jokes. Van is the man as far as the students of his college are concerned as he has a lavish room and lifestyle for himself courtesy of his wealthy father Vance wilder SR (Tim Matheson),
Van is so popular he needs his best friend Hutch (Real Worlds, Tek Holmes), to hire an assistant to help him with his schedule. Enter Taj (Kal Penn), A student from India who is interested in learning the joys of getting down and wants Van to be his mentor. Life could not be better for the trio, that is until Van is cut off by his father who refuses to pay for his education as seven years of college has yet to result in a degree.
With his world falling around him, Van finds creative ways to finance his education and lifestyle by providing various services to the students. Among them is as a party planner where he become all the rage amongst his peers. A campus reporter named Gwen (Tara Reid) is assigned to get the story on Van for the school paper and predictably the two start to become close. The budding friendship draws Van the wrath of Gwens uptight, conservative, and shallow boyfriend Richard (Daniel Cosgrove), as he wants Van to disappear as fast as he entered the picture. Towards this end, Richard and his frat buddies take steps to remove Van from the equation. Sure it is very predictable as we have seen this all before, the girl with the loser boyfriend, the oversexed best friend, the stoner, the clueless faculty, and an abundance of gross jokes many of which involve bodily functions and fluids.
Despite the gross style of humor, there are some solid laughs in the film. I found myself laughing along despite a story that was very predictable and one that I had seen countless of times in teen movies to numerous to name. However while the film does not have much in the way of originality, it does have some good laughs and a good nature to it. The cast is enjoyable and though we know what is going to happen, we have a good time being along for the ride. Check your brain at the door and enjoy the laughs.
3 stars out of 5
Gareth Von Kallenbach
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age
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